"There's power in prayer!"
I've heard this mantra multiple times in the last week, as I stayed overnight last weekend in the hospital. In my fear and uncertainty, numerous family and friends endeavored to remind me of this truth.
The thing is, I know from personal experience that prayer changes things.
Don't ask me how. It just does.
But sometimes, even those of us who have faith in this reality doubt it when it comes to our own lives. Or, at least, we have been praying about any given situation for what seems like forever, and in our garbled thoughts, we can't see how anything in our circumstances have changed or will change.
So when I found myself being admitted for observation last week, I reached out and asked for prayers from friends on social media, noting I had been under a lot of stress for a long time, and would they pray for God to grant me some much needed peace?
As I lie in my bed, worn out by saying the same things to God ad infinitum, I put my trust in my friends, who I knew were concerned about me, and simply said to Him, "There are people out there praying for me tonight, Lord. I don't know what else to say. Listen to them and answer their prayers."
And wouldn't you know it, I soon found myself in my room with a cloud of peace surrounding me, the likes of which I haven't felt in my anxiety-ridden life in ages.
The next day, Deacon Ron Wackerlin visited me in my room and reminded me again of the power in prayer before feeding me with the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ. I cannot put into words what I felt that moment, as I cupped my hands, gazed at that little white Host and all I could think is "Oh, My God! This is all I want. This is all I need."
After Deacon Ron left, there remained a sense of a Real Presence with me for some time.
So, yes, there is power in prayer.
And the reality is we all need prayer from others, though many of our needs go perilously unnoticed or unmentioned to others in our daily lives.
I know it is difficult amid all of our own concerns to be mindful that the people we pass on the street or in the grocery store all the way to the people we pass in our office or home every day are going through issues and confusions about which we know nothing.
But let me assure you: They are.
And they need our prayers.
The reality is we are all in this together, brothers and sisters borne of One God. We have a responsibility to look out for each other and I can't think of any better way to do that than to place each other in the hands of Our Loving God often and say, "Here is your child. Grant them peace."
Be well and be blessed.
- SPIRIT MATTERS is a weekly column that examines spirituality in The Times' readership area. Contact Jerrilyn Zavada at firstname.lastname@example.org to share how you engage your spirit in your life and community.