Sliding into the pew before the opening hymn, I glance through the bulletin, stopping at the long list of people requesting prayer.
Many face life-threatening illness: a young mother undergoing chemo ... a child critically injured in an accident ... an older couple who sold their house to travel the country and learned a day before departure that the husband’s cancer had returned. Others on the list are struggling through divorce, unemployment,depression.
The names are of young and old and in-between, but most are of older members whose bodies have started the slow process of shutting down.
I wonder at times what good my prayers do—especially for those people I don’t know or those for whom death is inevitable, perhaps even welcome, after a long life.
I don’t pretend to understand the power and effect of prayer. Its workings remain a mystery to me. I have, though, come to understand two types of prayer—prayers of the lips and prayers of the hands.
Prayer of the hands I most vividly witnessed several years ago when a 36-year-old friend battled breast cancer. I was part of her support group. Our goal was to meet the daily needs of Suzanne and her family, allowing her to focus her energies on getting well.
The rest of this article is only available to subscribers.
© 2013 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers