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Let them pray over him

Prayer is not just about getting what we want, prayer is really about standing in solidarity with others in their time of need. Br Nathan-James reflects on a lesson learned about prayer.

When I first started making and using prayer beads I never conceived the direction they would take, or how people’s lives would be touched by them.

I had not been making Anglican Rosaries for long when a friend came and asked me to make a special Rosary. She was a Deacon at the time (if memory serves me correct) and had a friend whose son was in hospital and was loosing his sight. She said the boy and his family were people of great faith.

The lad was feeling scared because of loosing his sight. My friend wanted to give him something tangible to hold onto in his fear that would give him comfort through his faith. She asked if I could make a Rosary that she could give to him.

I was very touched by the compassion she had for this boy and his family in their plight. As she was talking to someone else in the house I was able to quickly make a set of prayer beads for her to give to him. As I was making them I was reminded of our dearly departed Sr Angela csc. She carved the first Holding Cross for Helen Joseph, a white South African anti-apartheid activist placed under house arrest. Angela designed the cross to sit in the palm of Helen’s hand. She gave Helen the cross with the message, when you hold this know that we pray for you.

I was also reminded of that wonderful invitation from the Apostle James to those who are sick and those who care for them; is any among you sick … let them call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord. James 5:14

Often it is easy for our prayers to be caught up in a list of things we want; thinking that prayer is somehow a magical incantation that will make God do the the things we want, or to feel absolved from of responsibility for being there for others in their need.

As I reflected later on my friend’s request and the part she asked me to play in showing this lad that people are praying over him I saw prayer in a different light. Prayer is not just about getting what we want, prayer is really about standing in solidarity with others in their time of need. Whether someone is sick in hospital or under house arrest for speaking out for the rights of the marginalised we can stand in solidarity with them in their plight. We might not be the elders of the church who bring oil to annoint, but we are one with all of God’s people and we can stand beside people when they need to be reminded of God’s presence in their lives.

In that small request of being asked to make something tangible for someone else to hold onto in their fears, to be able to remind them that not only do we stand with them in prayer but more importantly that God is amidst them in their needs. I also learned that when someone comes to us in need we often receive more than we give.  

Looking for a suggested prayer for healing? See prayers for healing.

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