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Prayer is what communities do in times of sorrow, joy

By Laura Hewett Becker
Special to the American-Statesman
Vincent Edwards, 68, left, holds hands with his son Kingsly Edwards, 32, during a Sunday service at St. Albert the Great Catholic Church in December. Prayer can bring communities together.

It was a simple request, “Would you please pray for Sapnap?”  

As a person of faith, I was glad to grant such a request. The request came with a beautiful explanation of how this person influences and brings joy to their gaming community and particularly the life of the one seeking my prayers.

There wasn’t a required method or script needed only that I was willing to honor the request and care for the need. In that moment, my faith community was invited into a specific community and need.   What a privilege and honor!

It strikes me that no matter your faith community there is a gift that it offers beyond compare. It is the people who offer prayers for the sake of another; and in this holy exchange where we speak and listen to the Keeper of the Stars good is done for the whole community.

In those prayers births are celebrated, deaths are bereaved, rites of passage are navigated, fear gives way to courage, despair is conquered by hope and tragedy is overcome with a peace that passes understanding. 

Prayer stirs resilience and fortifies perseverance. Prayer places us in an awareness of a Higher Power and Greater Presence that pours love and grace deep into our being. Prayer is at the heart of the community of faith and the way in which it cares for the heart of people.     

Throughout my life, my faith community has provided the praying people who have sustained me in the most difficult of times and the most glorious. They are the ones who look deep into my soul when I say I’m fine and I’m not. They are the ones who sit with grace as I pour out the heartache of shame and guilt and declare forgiveness. They are the ones who hold faith when I don’t have the faith through the dark nights. 

The Rev. Laura Hewett Becker is the senior pastor of Leander United Methodist Church.

The prayer of the faithful is powerful and effective. When all else seems to fail, the gift of praying for each other saves the weary soul and reconnects humanity. Praying is powerful and effective because it meets the needs of people with the resources of God. I’m certainly in need of such resources. 

We have much to pray about with each other. I sense it is the greatest good we can do together especially as we act together for good. Holy Presence and Love is as close as the breath we breathe to speak our prayers.

Are any among you suffering? Are any cheerful? Are any sick? You are not alone, and you have a community of faith to call upon.     

I hope in the coming days of the changing season, we will seek and find opportunities to pray together and listen for truth that transforms our selfish hearts. 

Let us pray.  And, may our prayers see a harvest abundant with mercy and grace. It’s what the faith community can do.

The Rev. Laura Hewett Becker is the senior pastor of Leander United Methodist Church. Doing Good Together is compiled by Interfaith Action of Central Texas, interfaithtexas.org.