I’m a regular visitor to Guideposts.org. I was clicking around one day and came across something cool: a call for volunteers for OurPrayer, one of Guideposts’ most important outreach programs. All you had to do was promise to pray for 30 requests a month.
I signed up for the training and then every night, after my husband, Mark, and I had dinner, I’d log on to OurPrayer, read a few requests and pray. People were struggling with everything from job loss to marital troubles, from health woes to foreclosure. Praying for them felt like the most important thing I did every day. It was incredibly gratifying. But I sometimes wondered what the effect was on them.
Then one morning in September I got a call from a nurse at the local hospital. Mark had been rushed to the ER. He’s a truck driver and he fell from a loading dock while making a delivery.
“We don’t know much yet, but his spine was critically injured,” the nurse said. “He can’t move his arms or legs right now. I’m so sorry.” Suddenly I was the one needing urgent prayers. Even before I set off for the hospital, I reached out to my fellow Prayer Angels (that’s what we volunteers call ourselves).
Mark spent a month in intensive care. With time, he was able to move his fingers and toes. Regaining the full range of motion in his arms and legs has been a bigger challenge. He was transferred to a rehabilitation facility. I still log on to OurPrayer almost every day.
First I pray for others and then post my own requests: “Keep your prayers coming for Mark’s recovery. It’s his first day of physical therapy.” “Mark is in good spirits today. His doctors said he’s doing better than they expected!” “Thank you for your prayers for me and my family. We’re still taking it day by day, but Mark is getting stronger.”
Being the recipient of so many prayers made it clear to me that all those prayers I said for others do make a difference. I felt it firsthand. Felt a little of the weight lift from my shoulders when someone told me, “I’m praying for you,” knowing my burdens were being shared.
Prayer is a powerful thing. It calms us, heals us, gives us strength to face the unknown. But most of all it brings us together to face what we need not face alone.