One of the major components of my vocation is living a life of prayer. I am constantly offering up prayers for my parishioners, my family, and my friends. I am regularly praying for the oppressed, the hungry, and those suffering around the world. I pray for those in leadership in our country and around the world. And even if the average stranger or acquaintance feels a little uncomfortable talking about religion with me, they have no issues asking me to pray for them. Prayer is part and parcel of my life and work.
But as much as I pray, for others and even myself, I rarely ask others to pray for me. I am not sure why really. Maybe I feel like people are busy or God knows what I need. Regardless, I don’t tend to solicit prayers. But this past month has involved a lot of upheaval. I am transitioning between jobs, and the prayer concerns seem endless. My current parish has been sorting through their own grief and anxiety about the change. My future parish has been preparing to receive me and handling logistics on their end. And my family is juggling everything: from the emotional toll of the transition, to buying our first home, to finding a new job for my husband, and finding new schools and childcare for our children.
So this week, I finally asked for prayer. I asked a colleague group of mine and some close friends to pray. The response was immediate and overwhelming. Sharing the burden seemed to lessen the burden. Feeling connected to a community of support gave me comfort and strength. And thinking about their prayers made me realize there are other people praying too. My current parish has a prayer group that is praying for us. My future parish has a weekly prayer they are offering for me, my family, and for them. Even my mom’s Bible Study group is praying for us. And that probably does not even count the myriad other people who are praying for me without me realizing it.
As I marveled in the community of saints lifting me up in prayer this week, I realized maybe that is part of the power of prayer: prayer reminds us that we are not alone. When we join in prayer with others, we remember that we are not on our own in this life. The vast web of prayer gives us a tiny glimpse into the enormous love of our God for us. This week I am grateful for the reminder of the power of a prayerful community. I encourage you to reach out to your own communities if you are in need of prayer. And if you are feeling less needy this week, then reach out to someone else who might need your prayers. We are not alone and we need each other.