Rector's December 2015 Letter

Say One for Me

 

Who prays for you?  It is a thought-provoking question.  Most of us pray for ourselves and those we love, now and then, whether or not prayer is a regular habit.  Like those plasters that came with a long-forgotten First-Aid box, even the most sceptical of us probably has a little packet of prayer tucked away somewhere in our head, marked ‘for emergency use’.  Unlike the plasters, there is no use-by date on our prayers.  God doesn’t mind how long it is since we last dialled his number, and he is always at home. 

 

But who else might be praying for us?  Some of us may know that we have friends or relatives who are in the habit of praying, in which case it is a fair bet that we figure in their prayers either occasionally or regularly.  Some of us may even have the privilege of listening in to our children’s or grand-children’s prayers at bedtime and hear them pray for us.  There is even an ecumenical group called ‘Mother’s Prayers’ that encourages groups of mums to get together to pray for their children and families. 

 

If we are undergoing particular health challenges and know people who go to church, we may have been asked if we would mind being put on a prayer list, either for private prayer or inclusion in the Sunday service intercessions (another word for prayer that asks God for something).  And most churches have ‘prayer boards’ where requests can be pinned up and will be regularly prayed for.  The number of people who come into empty churches to sit for a moment and pray probably equals or exceeds the Sunday congregation in some places.  Some of them may be praying for you.

 

When I was a prison chaplain, I discovered that hardly anyone ever turned down the offer of prayer.  Some were embarrassed at the thought of me praying there and then, but when I offered to pray for them back in the chapel at the end of my shift, it was almost always accepted gladly.  They would ask me to pray for their own situations, of course, but overwhelmingly for those they loved; girlfriends, wives and children, parents and grandparents.  And I discovered that most of them had someone – often a grandmother – who they knew prayed regularly for them.

 

If we could see the network of prayer that is spun around us, we might well be surprised.  People pray for their neighbours; for those they hardly see as well as their friends; for the people next to them in queues and in hospital waiting rooms; for people on Facebook and Twitter.  A donation to the Food Bank may be accompanied by a prayer for the family that will receive it.  Many people will always stop momentarily to say a prayer for the occupants when an ambulance speeds by or when they pass the site of a car crash.  Churches pray for the communities in which they are set; for local businesses, schools and local needs; for famine victims, refugees and members of the government of this and other countries.  You don’t have to approve of someone to pray for them; in fact praying for our enemies and those who hate us can be a very important part of our prayers.

 

Knowing that we are prayed for can be incredibly powerful, but most of us are probably prayed for whether we know about it or not.  In one attempted study of prayer for healing, it was discovered the the ‘unprayed for‘ control group were actually being regularly prayed for by at least one of the night-nurses, as well as by relatives who the patient had no idea were praying.  If we count the prayers of those who pray deliberately for ‘those with no-one to pray for them’, then we are all covered.

I believe that prayers are incredibly important for both the person praying and the people they pray for.  God has chosen, for our benefit, to work in this world mainly through us – not just through our own actions but also through the channel of love, strength and healing that is opened up in prayer – a channel that runs both ways.

 

Praying for the people, businesses, schools and situations in these villages is a big part of what the church is for – and a big part of my own job description as vicar.  I’m praying for you anyway, but I would love to do it by name, and to know what you would like me to pray for.  Feel free to use the number and email address below to contact me – nobody else reads the emails or answers that phone so it can remain quite private if you prefer.  If you put the word ‘Prayers’ in the heading of emails it will be easier for me to pick them out.  Or just tell me, when you next see me, who you are and what you would like me to pray for.  I’ll be carrying a little notebook – let’s see if we can fill it!  And have a very blessed Christmas and New Year.

 

 

Rev’d Karen Spray                   01392 877400             church@revdkaren.org.uk

 

 


Rector's Pages
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Webpage icon Rector's December 2014 Letter
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