November 28, 2011
"Praying it Forward"
I could relate to this article by Dick Staub. I believe sometimes praying is all we can do for someone else, but prayer changes things. I've repeatedly felt the prayers of others in my life and it is powerful.
"...I have a confession to make. I love to pray... for strangers.
I don't know when my praying for strangers started. Perhaps it was when an ambulance left our neighborhood and I realized that some hapless soul trapped in a failing body needed medical assistance that I was incapable of offering. So I offered what I could: a prayer.
During visits to Disneyland, I've seen families erupt into anger and frustration and I've prayed for relief from whatever pressures they brought into the happiest place on earth.
On a flight, I spotted another passenger just ahead of me wiping a tear from an eye, and I've asked God to help them remember that some day "God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
I've watched the news and seen a fiancé whose partner was washed away in a tsunami, or a mother whose child is waiting for a kidney transplant, or an elderly person about to lose their home. I've prayed for them as if they are my own family.
People often feel alone in this world, as if God is absent or silent or both. Maybe it's because we are failing to love as we should by being with people and praying for them.
The idea of "paying it forward" has become practically a cliché, but in a world so filled with suffering and pain, there still seems to be more than enough room for the idea of "praying it forward."
Prayer, of course, should never replace hands-on help and assistance for friends or stranger in need. But think about it: what would happen if every person on our planet said one heartfelt prayer for one stranger they encountered each day?
I can't know for sure if praying for strangers is good for them, but I can tell you that it's been good for me. Once you take seriously Jesus' commandment to love one another, you find yourself connected to the whole of humanity. And when I do something to relieve someone else's suffering, I relieve some of my own."
Dick Staub is author of the just-released About You: Fully Human and Fully Alive and the host of The Kindlings Muse (www.thekindlings.com). His blog can be read at www.dickstaub.com.