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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pray-ers Gonna Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray

Pray-ers Gonna Pray, Pray, Pray, Pray

I remember the first time someone prayed for me over the phone. It wasn't a family member, friend, or even someone I'd spoken to before.

I was a newspaper reporter finishing up an interview with a local pastor, and before I could hang up, he began saying a prayer for me, unprompted. It felt a little weird, but I still closed my eyes and bowed my head as he asked that God guide and bless my work. I was touched by the sentiment. If this pastor would have told me, "I'll be praying for you and the article you're working on," it wouldn't have struck me as much as his prayer did in the moment—so much that I still remember it several years later.
Even within the church, we can compile prayer requests and reassuring text messages far more than actually Praying Together, which is the name of Megan Hill's new book. Megan regularly encourages our group of Her.meneutics writers through prayer (sadly not often "face-to-face and shoulder-to-shoulder," as she'd prefer), and now she's sharing her call to communal prayer with readers.
Of course God hears our solo, silent, in-the-closet prayers as much as he does when we gather to pray. However, praying with others stands to benefit us and our faith. Megan writes:
When I prayed by myself, I often found myself questioning whether my prayers rose any higher than the ceiling. But hearing my brothers and sisters bring my needs confidently before the Lord bolstered my own faith. Together in prayer we were a cloud of witnesses directing one another to the listening Father who tenderly welcomes the cries of all his children.
During my first few years in small group, I kept silent at prayer time, but through listening to others, I slowly learned to speak up. Observing people pray for me—whether the pastor on the phone or a new friend—emboldened me to extend my hand to others.
As with so many aspects of the Christian life, we do things for the sake of others. Those times where we don't feel like we need more prayer (or friendship, financial assistance, comfort, community, advice) might be exactly when someone else does. We open ourselves up for their sake, not our own.
And prayer never comes too little or too late. Ellie Ewoldt's son was diagnosed with cancer at age 2, and this week she wrote for us about how to support families facing similar medical crises. In the "long, exhausting marathon" of treatment, she reminds us, "you're never too late to connect and love."
Thanks for reading. Go pray with someone today.

Kate Shellnutt
Kate Shellnutt
Editor, Her.meneutics

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