There are very few conversations I remember having with my Mimi (grandmother) Claire. While I could go on and on about the things she did for us and the time that we spent together- I just can't recall much of what she told me, with the exception of one thing. Although she only said this one time, it is etched firmly in my memory because of the way that hearing her words made me feel. She told me that she was praying for me. How is it that words spoken by my grandmother thirty years ago have remained with me and continue to affect me today?
Growing up Catholic, we tended to keep our faith private and our prayers even more confidential. We would go to Mass and pray in public there, but that was about the extent of the outward nature of our devotion to God. In the 70's and 80's adoration was not as popular as it is today nor was it "cool" to pray the rosary in a group unless you attended Mass at an ethnic parish. We were just not demonstrative about our faith and were not comfortable with saying anything that appeared "religious" beyond, "bless your heart."
It is easy to remain in the practice of keeping our faith lives private in the same way we were raised. We don't want to offend anyone, so we don't share that we are going to Mass. We don't know how someone will react, so we don't make our struggles or prayer requests known. We are afraid of looking like a fanatic, so we keep our faith tucked in a little corner of our lives.
The power of prayer is meant to be shared and not kept locked in a cabinet or tucked in a small corner under our pillow only to be pulled out in the middle of the night like a security blanket at overnight camp.
Prayer has a unique way of connecting us with others in both the physical world and the spiritual realm. While we may be separated by miles, circumstances, and live in different time zones, we can be united with one another in prayer. There is a tremendous comfort in recognizing that although you are unable to help someone in an immediate way to solve their problem, you can help them by uniting your prayers with theirs. I have seen time and again the comfort that comes when a person knows that they are being lifted in prayer. I have experienced it myself. The immediate problems may not be solved, but knowing that you are not alone in your suffering can provide much-needed relief.
There is an unmistakeable peace and unsurpassed joy that comes when we recognize answered prayers. Being able to share this with another is truly one of God's gifts to us.
Some of my closest friendships are the ones with women whom I am bound together through prayer; women that I can text with an SOS and know that they will be carrying me when I can no longer carry the burdens of my day.
I like to think of my texting group of friends as a Circle of Prayer. We don't have an official structure nor have we named our group. The members of the group may even differ based upon the prayer that is needed. But, we all trust each other with the confidentiality of our requests and know that we are going to God on each other's behalf, together.
If you do not currently have a Circle of Prayer, I hope that you are encouraged to start your own. Here are some steps you can take to create and grow your circle.
1. Ask a friend or two how you can pray for them. Ask whether they have anything they are praying for right now, something specific. This may feel super awkward, but it will become more natural over time. Be sure to write these prayer requests down and remember to lift them up in your daily prayer time.
2. Be vulnerable and ask your friend/s to pray for you as well. Share something specific that you are worrying about or praying for so that you can approach the Throne of Grace together.
3. Let your Circle know when you have experienced an answer to prayer and ask your friend/s how they are doing in the area where you are praying for them.
Let me know your thoughts on the idea of a Circle of Prayer. Do you have any ideas that may help someone create their own Circle? I would love to hear how you have been supported in prayer by your friends. Use the Comment section below to respond to this Post.
Know that I am praying for you.