How many times have you heard a politician or journalist, whilst commenting on a national disaster, complete their commentary by adding, ‘Our prayers and thoughts are with the family and friends at this most difficult time’? Sometimes I think to myself how very nice that is, and then other times I’ll be more cynical and say, “Really, is this guy going to actually pray for the family”?
This thought crossed my mind recently when a close friend rang to say her dad was gravely ill, and the family had been advised he wouldn’t live much longer. This friend, aged in her early 40’s and with three young sons, lost her husband six years ago. She is no stranger to death. After going through what needed to be done practically, she asked would my family pray for them, and she commented that my family was ‘good at praying’.
After I got off the phone I wondered why she thought we were good at praying. I wondered if she knew how often I struggled with prayer myself. How there were times when my prayer life was pretty darn ordinary. But, I realised that in the sad times of her life, we often said we would pray for her and her family. And we did.
Maybe the offer to pray for someone is simply said so as to bring them comfort. But isn’t that what we need when we are sad or feeling down? I know a number of people who are not religious, but they do feel a sense of spiritual connection when another person offers to do something, like pray for them. I admit I feel comforted, and connected with God, when someone has offered to pray for me or my family when the going was a bit tough.
What about you? How would you feel?
This article is part of Faith Journey, a newsletter from the National Centre for Evangelisation.