When I was running today, a friend passed me going the other direction.
He turned around and we ran together for a mile or so and as we ran we talked. We talked about the marathon he had run and the new job he has just started. We talked about the juggling act of balancing work and family. And, he talked about his father, who is about my age, who is having a heart procedure next week. He asked if I would remember him in my prayers which I will do.
Here is what I think about prayer.
Prayer is not magic.
Not some heavenly hocus pocus.
But an intentional way I stand with another person or another community.
If that which we know and name as God is God is more about what connects us to one another than something (or someone) who is above us (which is what I believe), then prayer is somehow about tapping into that connection and adding what hope or concern or compassion or help I can to that community around me of which, through my understanding of the Holy, I am a part.
I know that first hand.
Some time ago I was going through a REALLY difficult time.
I seriously considered not just leaving my job, but leaving the ministry completely. Friends, whom I saw a couple times a year, knew how rough it was for me and told me they would pray for me.
Not for a miracle.
But pray offering what strength and hope and support they could through the channel which we knew and named as God. As I lived through those days and also looking back on them now. I am convinced that there were moments when the only way I made it through was because I knew they were there and had not forgotten me or given up on me. They were holding me up from a distance.
And, so I will pray for my friend’s father.
And, I will pray for the people of the Philippines.
I will pray for those parents who put their children to bed hungry tonight because assistance has been cut and there is no food in the house.
I will pray…
Because I believe it matters.