One week, the friend asked my parishioner why she hadn’t gone to worship that morning. Shocked, my parishioner asked how the friend had known this.
“I can feel it.” the friend replied. “I know when you’re praying for me.”
My parishioner went on to tell me how her friend had tried to explain this feeling, this sentiment, this absolute knowledge of being prayed for; she then admitted that she just didn’t understand it.
A few weeks had passed when she was sitting in church one day, and suddenly she had a feeling – a powerful, peaceful, all-encompassing feeling of being cared for and loved. She glanced at her watch, noted the time, and continued in the service.
At brunch that day, her friend asked her how church had been. She replied that it was a lovely service, spiritually uplifting, sharing even how she had felt that one precise moment of being embraced. Her friend then told her that they had decided to pray for her that Sunday – intentionally, without distraction, just to ask God’s blessing on my parishioner.
For my parishioner, it was exciting and exhilarating. She had finally felt, beyond words, what it was like to be so delightfully prayed for. She asked me if I had ever felt that way (yes, I have). We went on to have a lovely conversation about prayer, the power of prayer, the benefit of prayer.
Prayer isn’t always easy. We don’t always want to pray, or we feel our prayers are ignored, or that the answer we get isn’t what we asked for. Yet prayer is powerful; it’s an opportunity to submit to God, to ask that truly God’s will be done (not our own), to hold one another in prayer – not for wish fulfillment but for the benefit of the blessing itself. This is the privilege of praying for one another, not to change them but to delight in the gift that they are; this is the honour of being asked to share that feeling of peace.
So pray. Pray for your loved ones, pray for the ones you don’t want to pray for, pray for the strangers in your midst. Ask someone to pray for you too – that you too might feel the blessing of being held in prayer. And when that feeling does come, I hope you will be open to it, that you will be moved by it, and that you will be inspired to pray for someone else too. May we all feel that we are prayed for; may we all celebrate being able to say “I feel it when you pray for me.”