For this week’s Monday Minute, Muriel shares about how God created us to pray together in community with one another because we are stronger that way. How can you grow together in prayer with the people in the place God has planted you?
Alexa, would you pray for me?
by Muriel Gregory
“Of course, I’ll pray for you!”
Common words that resonate in our PWOC classes, our chapel services, and sometimes our workplaces and neighborhoods. I have myself uttered those words myself many times and have been the recipient of such a promise. When life comes at you full force, prayer from a friend is healing balm to the soul.
I have been very fortunate to cross paths with true prayer warriors. People who have taught me to pray in a real and earnest way. People who did not promise to pray for me later but took the time right then and there to pray over me. I do not remember their words, but I recall the peace that filled my heart.
Their example has taught me to be bolder in prayer and not to wait to encourage a sister who is hurting.
We are called to pray for one another.
Pray then like this:
Our Father in heaven,
Hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done,
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil.
Matthew 6:9-13 (emphasis mine)
Pray then like this…
Jesus taught us how to pray and what to pray for. Notice how he uses the words our, us, we instead of my, me, I. The beauty of the template that Jesus has given us is that it is focused on community. The Lord’s Prayer is communal. The focus is not me but us.
Praying for one another goes beyond the prayer requests. It is a clear intention to incorporate others in the supplications you are bringing to God. Praying for others reminds me that I am made for community.
I recently read an alarming article in the New York Times regarding some of the adverse effects that technology has had on society. The author claims that “Our rapturous submission to digital technology has led to an atrophying of human capacities like empathy and self-reflection.”He goes on to say that, “When you speak to people in person, you’re forced to recognize their full human reality, which is where empathy begins. (A recent study shows a steep decline in empathy, as measured by standard psychological tests, among college students of the smartphone generation.)”
Can you pray for others without empathy?
We are connected through our phones. When we struggle, there is an app for that. Yet, I would not ask Alexa or Google to pray for me. Connectivity does not mean community. Yes, I can input prayer requests into my prayer app, but nothing will replace the feeling that comes when we join hands, bow our heads, and lift heartfelt prayers.
We love what we nurture, and we nurture what we love. Nurturing community and praying for one another will help our love and empathy grow.
Let’s do community well. Let’s start by praying for one another.
Read: James 5:13-14, 16.
Reflect: According to James, for what occasion should we pray? How is he encouraging us to pray for one another?
Respond: Spend time this week to pray for a friend. Whether it is a prayer of praise, a prayer for healing, a prayer for wisdom, resist the urge to say “I’ll pray for you” and instead pray right then and there.
Lord, I am thankful that Jesus taught us to pray for one another. Community is where you want me to be. Help me become a prayer warrior and pray for the people I love, the ones that cross my path, and the ones who need encouragement. Amen.