Anyway, I pray- a lot- for my congregation,the people individually, for the community, for the world, for direction, etc.
There is a lot of conversation about this subject and the empty “I’ll pray for you” in my house. The idea being that “I’ll pray for you” is literally the least we can do as being in community. That Jesus, while meeting someone in pain, never turned to them and said, “I know you’re starving, or need shelter or are freezing to death, so I’ll pray for you.” In fact the whole point of the Good Samaritan was this- That Jesus took action and calls us to do the same. Rob Bell says in his Nooma Video ‘Open’ “Don’t ask God to feed someone when you have food to share.”
So yes, I’m with it 100%, following through is a challenge, which I am constantly striving to do better. However, there are simply not things in this world that we can “will into existence” or “think positive thoughts about”. For example, When I was struggling to get pregnant that is not something I could will into existence to simply think positively about, I had to take action with the help of doctors (more people than I care to count) and pray, just simply pray in my hour of need.
I grew up thinking, “you can do anything you put your mind to, be anything you want to be”. Yet the older I get the more I see that this philosophy is not always true. I am a very private person, and yet, I am an open book (I’m a conundrum, what can I say… and I really don’t know how my husband puts up with me). I keep friends very close and those friends become family to me.
And lately I have been praying and sending love to the people in my family who are hurting. These are not empty gestures. There are things in our lives, demons that we face, hardships, depression, sadness, stress, being overwhelmed that we simply have to walk through that shadowed valley to get to the other side. And when my friends, loved ones family face this I pray for them, I send them love in my prayer, I envision their well-being. I envision them happy, healthy, and able to put love and joy into the world again.
This is community, this is what it means to be the body of Christ.