The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


April 8, 2009

Prayers from the workplace

When I planned the stories that would comprise this month's cover story on prayer, I put out a call to readers asking about their prayer lives. I received far more responses than I could use. It was a joy to see the variety of ways people experience prayer. I was sorry I didn't have room for all the responses that came. To see those we did include, go to "Goodbye, guilt. Hello, better prayer life." Also check out these stories on prayer from the April issue:

 "Be the prayer"

"Ancient prayer practices can help"

"Children & prayer"

"Small group prayer"

I received responses from staff at the Lutheran Home in Winston Salem, N.C. Cissy McCoy, the administrator, says staff there begin each day with a morning meeting that starts with prayer. "We pray daily for residents, families, staff and individuals on our ongoing prayer request list," she said. She adds that the morning prayer times "calm us in a hectic day and keep us focused on what we must do." What a wonderful way to begin a work day.

Peggy Sullivan, housekeeping and laundry supervisor, said, "Prayer is our most important and powerful weapon. It changes people, places and situations." She adds that she prays in her bathroom, car, bedroom and as she walks through her day. In other words, anywhere is a good place to pray!

Kim Gelpi in medical records described an experience she had in her mid 20s when she came close to losing her life from a blood clot in her leg. Through the power of an uncle's prayer, she felt healed and transformed.

Kathy Spencer, social worker, told a story reminiscent of Hannah in the Old Testament—waiting and waiting for a child. In a time of prayer, she heard a "small, still voice" that told her to wait one year—and that's what happened. A year later she became pregnant with her first child, she said. 

And Chaplain James McDaniels said prayer was almost second nature to him and it had been "fairly easy to offer prayers and support to my parishioners and now as a chaplain in a nursing home." But when he was recuperating from cancer surgery, prayer was more difficult. That was when a simple prayer ("Lord, have mercy; Christ, have mercy; Lord, have mercy") brought comfort and peace to him.

 Ann Corns, director of nursing, wrote about an experience of prayer where, later, she realized she'd been praying for what she wanted to have happen to the nursing home where she worked. "Now my prayers became that God would give me the guidance to do my job as best I could but also to help me be accepting of God's plan no matter what the outcome would be."

Finally, Ann Slater, activities director, weighed in with a painful experience of watching her daughter deliver a baby in a high-risk pregnancy. Slater fell on her knees in prayer, and now she says: "As I watched my granddaughter enter into this world, she brought with her love, laughter and my restored faith in prayer and in my Heavenly Father."

So many stories. So many experiences of prayer. Not all prayers are answered the way we wish. But we can always know God does hear us and that God loves us with an outrageous love that never stops. May we remember that this Holy Week ... and always.


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Embracing diversity