One of the great gifts of my ministry is the trust that people hand to me. I am often told about difficulties, challenges, pains, sufferings, &c. that my parish family members are going through. I am, several times a week, asked to pray for someone who is undergoing some form of stress.
When I am asked to pray, I do. At home I light a candle, I dedicate intentional time, and I ask for God to be present – that God’s Will will prevail, whether the outcome is what we’re hoping for or not. I’ve prayed publicly with folks, I’ve prayed in hospitals, in prisons, in pews, in the produce section of the grocery store.
I recently had opportunity to put that trust in others, on my behalf. I had some very minor surgery, and I asked some folks to pray for me. It was delightfully uplifting. Despite the fact that I have had a number of surgeries and medical issues in my life, I was scared. The logic of the safety and benefit of the procedure came second to the fear I was feeling. And so, I prayed.
As I lay in the operating theatre, awake, I was praying throughout the procedure. I prayed the rosary, I prayed the Lord’s prayer, I prayed extemporaneously. I fidgeted with the finger where I normally wear the ring I had made for my ordination. And I thought of those who had assured me of their prayers. I knew I was being prayed for by my parish family, by my friends, by my priest; I knew candles were lit for me, time set aside for those prayers, intentional concern brought from my lovelies’ lips to God’s ears.
And I was calmed, knowing that I was held in God’s arms and in many prayers.
The procedure was short, and a success, and I was happy to share my thanks for the prayers with my circle of pray-ers as soon as I was able.
It was a delight for me to be on the receiving end – it reminded me just how powerful it can be to have the faith of being held IN prayer, not just to be the one offering prayer. It reminded me of the strength of all of those who ask for prayers – it’s not always an easy request!
And so it reminded me to be fervent in prayer, for those around me who trust me with their requests, those who trust other pray-ers with that request, and all those who need prayers but don’t necessarily articulate it. I know that not everyone takes prayer requests that seriously (life can get in the way sometimes!) but for me it reminded me what an honour and gift it is to hold in prayer another beloved child of God.
And I pray that those whom I hold in prayer may know the calm of body and peace of Christ that I felt while I had others praying for me.