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Community of Prayer

January 16, 2021

“I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.” John 17:15

This holiday weekend usually finds me traveling north to Alexandria, MN. Why, one might reasonably ask, would one fly from Chicago to Minneapolis and then drive a few hours to Alexandria in the dead of winter? It’s a perfectly reasonable question.

The answer is prayer.

For more than a decade, I have been part of a community of writers who compose prayers for an edition of the Moravian Daily Texts. We descend upon Mount Carmel, a beautiful Bible camp overlooking Lake Carlos. I imagine that it has been frozen over for quite some time now, dotted with the shanties of ice fishers. We spend time together in worship and workshops, honing our skills. There is no wrong way to pray, of course, but it is an interesting exercise to craft a prayer that will be used by someone else, months later, without anyone knowing it was you who wrote it. And to do so in sixty words, including the amen!

I am grateful for this community, and saddened to lose one more thing to COVID. No retreat this year, of course. We will gather together later this morning on Zoom, and for this I give thanks.

The New Testament passage for today is, appropriately enough, a prayer. It is a prayer from Jesus to his Father on the night before his death. Jesus knows that he will soon die and, not long after his resurrection, will ascend into heaven. Jesus is leaving us here, but he’s not leaving us alone. The Father and Son will send the Spirit. And Jesus will hold us in his prayers.

The evil one has been working overtime these days. We look with both hope and apprehension to the coming week. But we are not our own. We are a community knit together in prayer. Our prayers may be of the well-crafted, sixty-word variety. They may be long and meandering. They may be a joyful “Thank you!” or a pleading “Help me!” or a sigh too deep for words. Jesus hears them all. To our prayers, Jesus adds his own. God is listening, so pray away. And know you are not alone.

Be well, friends. You are loved.

Lord, listen to your children praying! As his sisters and brothers, we add our voices to that of your Son. Protect us from evil. Let peace with justice descend upon us. Keep us connected, one to another, in your Word. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Image: Prayer writers, clearly hard at work. January 15, 2018.

The edition of the Daily Texts for which I write was long produced by Mount Carmel Ministries. It is now produced by Ground Up Grace. If you’d like to know more, click here for more information.

From → COVID-19

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