The Power of Discomforting Prayer

Dear People of Grace-

Last month I challenged you to eat together more, maybe in each other’s homes. How’s that going? Any good stories to share? And how has lunch bunch experienced your holy spiritual practice? If you haven’t taken me up on my offer yet, Elsie’s pool party would be a great place to start!

This Sunday, at our nine o’clock holy hour of conversation, we began another holy practice- praying for each other. Of course, you all pray for each other all the time, but most often, I think, in private. This was different, because we were with each other- and not just in a big group either, with only the pastor praying out loud! Each person sat down with two other people, and told them all about what was going on in their life. Two others listened carefully, then, in a circle of held hands, prayed out loud for what they had heard. Sometimes there was a little awkwardness, sometimes some gentle silence, and for some there were even tears.

We talked about the experience right after, and every single person talked about how powerful it was to hear two other people pray for them, the things they had just said, right there in front of them! Feeling a sister or brother care out loud felt so good! Some said it felt more like God was really listening, hearing their own concerns prayed in someone else’s voice. Others said they felt God’s love and presence more in the group than they do on the own. “Wherever two or three are gathered, there I am!”

We also talked about how it was just a little hard to be the one praying- we aren’t used to doing it. But God can be present in that awkwardness too. We talked about how, in our daily lives, we sometimes promise to pray for a friend. Then we go home and do it alone, in silence. But what if sometimes we said, “Can I pray for you now?” What a way to show we care! What a way to share our faith!

It’s an intimate thing, to hold someone’s hand a pray for them, in your own words. That’s why it’s so powerful. Someone has been vulnerable enough to tell us a piece of their life, and we are vulnerable praying out loud for them. With all intimate things, we check to make sure we aren’t pushing someone; that they’re comfortable with the same level of intimacy we are. But the closeness is exactly what makes it so great!

Most of us didn’t feel comfortable quite yet, doing this in our everyday life. Maybe you are, but if you aren’t we’ll practice some more. Church can be a great place to try out new things, practice our faith skills. So don’t be surprised when I ask you to pray for each other in a committee meeting, Bible Study, or Healing Service. But don’t be too surprised either, when another Grace person asks to pray for you!

Pastor Lura

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