The Beauty of a Praying Community

A few days ago, my heart was heavy.  I was a bit anxious with a dash of melancholy.  I wanted to reach out to my friends, but due to the sensitive nature of my issue, combined with living in a small community, I knew I had to be vague.  And so I asked for prayers from my “Facebook friends.”  This, of course, includes people I have known closely for years, but also those online friends I have never seen face-to-face…stamping friends, other bloggers, pro-life colleagues.

The response was tremendous…and very moving.  I didn’t even have to say what my need was, just that it was emotional and spiritual in nature.  (With my litany of health issues, I let everyone know it was not physical!)  Dozens of people responded with kind words and encouragement.  They assured me of their prayers, and they worked to calm my heart, like breathing in the sweet fragrance of lilacs.  So. Much. Peace.  Not that everything is “fixed,” but I managed to survive some rough waters with a smile. The journey continues, and I know I am not alone.

Praying for and with each other is a critical part of the Christian life.  Our prayers take on many forms, including meditating on sacred scripture, singing psalms, and uttering fragmented phrases from a wounded soul.  God hears our prayers, I have no doubt.  I have experienced the answers to prayers more times than I can count, and that includes times when the answer is “No.”  Reaching out to the Almighty is an incredible experience, but many times it is essential to approach the Throne with our brothers and sisters in faith.  Power in numbers, as the saying goes.

I have often offered to pray for others, as I feel called to do.  I keep a prayer journal with varying levels of consistency.  I peek on a few social media pages daily where many of us feel safe and comfortable sharing our requests.  On days when my mind and heart are heavily burdened, I have been known to say, “Lord, you know all those posts I read this morning?  Please hear them, and answer them, O Lord!”

But when others respond in prayer for me, I am mindful of how this prayer experience is about a community of faith.  The words of our mouths are raised together, albeit at different times of the day or maybe even in different languages.  We serve a mighty, loving God Who exists outside time and space, Who hears and understands every language.  He wants us to pray together!  He wants us to join our hearts and voices!  While we must all have some personal prayer time, we must also find time to pray together.  I truly believe God honors that.  In this modern day of online communication, I hope to use it to build online community.  I still pray with my husband, with my local parish and with local friends, of course.  I just love the fact that it doesn’t end there.

What are your favorite ways to pray with others?  Do you also share prayer with an online community?  Share your thoughts below.

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