Prayer and the Power of Connection

A weekend ago I was in Colorado and during worship we prayed for the folks on the East Coast as they prepared for Hurricane Sandy. This past weekend I was at home in Minnesota and on Sunday we prayed for those same folks, now on the other side of the Hurricane, and for all those who were working to help them cope with the devastation. A little later in the prayers we also offered our hopes and concerns for those members of our congregation who had left the day before for Ethiopia where they would be partnering with local churches to build wells. Tonight and tomorrow I am in Pennsylvania with a group of pastors on retreat, and we will pray for all those who are voting on this day across the country and for all those who will be entrusted with public office. This weekend I will be in Phoenix and we will pray some more, for people locally and regionally and nationally and globally.

I have a lot of questions about prayer. Truth be told, more questions than answers. But experiences like those I just described – being in a variety of places, praying for people in a host of other places, situations, and circumstances – reminds me of the power of prayer to connect us with each other.

In fact, I find it remarkable how prayer allows us to join with others – in their joys and sorrows, hopes and fears, dreams and disappointments – in such a real and powerful way. Separated by time zones and vast geographical distances, we nevertheless are joined with those for whom we pray and who are praying for us. We speak of “holding each other in prayer” and so it is, as prayer spans time and distance to offer our support and presence in times of need.

Whatever else prayer may be, it is about connection – connection to God, most certainly, but also to all those we hold in prayer. And so pray. This day and always, and in so doing we experience the fellowship of believers, the communion of saints, and what it means to be, indeed, the Body of Christ.