The other night I was tired, more tired than I have ever been. Shaking hands, taking pictures, celebrating the work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is no small task at the King Center, and I found myself working hard to even stay awake. So when my friend Britney asked, “Can I pray for you?” I wanted to reply, “Why? I need a nap more than I need prayer.”
But being a good friend I allowed her to pray. She put her hand on my shoulder and prayed that God might provide rest and quiet-filled moments for me in the days ahead. She prayed that I wouldn’t feel alone and instead feel empowered to do the work ahead of me. She said amen, and I knew that those moments were some of the most holy of the day, and let me say all in all it was a holy day in general.
There is a value in praying with people. I’m going to hope that I start the practice of praying with people instead of just praying for people. I hope that I can intercede on others’ behalf just as Britney did for me. The great gift of praying with someone provides for us the opportunity to connect with each other and realize that God is working even when we don’t see it or can’t see it because of our blindness to the world around us.
Ultimately, praying is an opportunity to be awakened to possibility; The possibility that God might actually be listening, and hearing, and acting on our behalf. And if God is listening then God is keeping us close at hand and heart. These acts of prayer are more than just a heavenly phone call. For all of us, they should be life-lines of grace and hope for a better situation and peace in our lives.