“and now, I pray”
I wrote, a few months ago, about pulling someone off of my prayer list. This friend of mine had died of ALS, and I wrote about the efficacy of my prayers, and the beauty of that feeling.
I had to make another painful change to my prayer list this afternoon. The daughter of some friends of mine, for whom I’ve been praying for a few years, died this morning. Even more painfully, she did not die because of her illness; she took her own life.
But what struck me this evening, as I thought about the fact that I will no longer be praying for her, was the knowledge of how much more I need to be praying for her parents. My praying will not cease, they will change.
Prayers are a chain. If you’ve ever prayed out loud with a group, you’ve experienced this. One prayer leads to another. It’s a beautiful thing, really, hearing how the Holy Spirit prompts someone to pray a different way than you are, when you’re both praying for the same thing.
But our personal prayers form a chain, too. As I’ve prayed for my friends’ daughter over the past few years, I have prayed for my friends, too. I have prayed for her doctors. I have prayed for strength, and wisdom, and guidance for all of them as they dealt with her illness. And the prayers I have prayed, will become the prayers I will pray.
My friends have to go on. They have to break the news to family members, make phone calls, make arrangements, make decisions. And they will, I imagine, painfully relive this day in their minds, and cry until the tears won’t come anymore. They will pray for peace and strength, for themselves and each other. They will pray for understanding and comfort, and those might seem to be futile prayers, but they will pray anyway. And they’ll pray for increased faith, which will certainly not be a futile prayer.
I can’t be with my friends; they live a few states away from me. But I can be with them in prayer. Linked, in a sweet and precious chain.