Most of the time, we think of prayer as a private, quiet conversation with God. Following the Passing of the Peace, we share a moment together with the Prayers of the People when concerns and celebrations from the congregation are collected and shared.
There are times when our public prayers reiterate tragedy and uncertainty, such as health concerns, natural disasters, and loss. These types of life circumstances are also those for which we have the hardest time finding the words to say to express our anxiety or grief. In a society that is obsessed with eternal youth and prosperity, there are few places where we can honestly name and wrestle with these difficult parts of life.
Other times, we are so excited about good things happening in our life that we want to tell everyone so that our joys can be shared.
These types of prayers are not superstition, but an invitation to live as a community of faith. Being part of a community reminds us that every part of life happens even if it does not happen to us directly. We “celebrate with those who celebrate and we mourn with those who mourn“ (Romans 12:15) because in doing so we experience all of life in the presence of God.
Experiment: Share something that you would appreciate prayer for. You can use the blue card that is collected during the Passing of the Peace or you can contact the office during the week. These prayer concerns are also shared with the elders for prayer and follow-up.