Prayers for Healing
Giving a talk about prayer always feels a bit incongruous, because I figure if I’m with a group, wouldn’t it be better to pray rather than just talk about it? On Sunday I was at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church talking about my book 10 Prayers You Can’t Live Without and in a wonderful way, we did a bit of both.
First, I was very glad that this was a group that liked to participate. They had needs and concerns they wanted addressed. I walked my way through the different types of prayer I’ve found important—thankfulness, petition, conversation, meditation— and of course lost count.
“How many prayers is that?” I asked. “Four so far,” said a man in the back. I talked about unanswered prayer and how it can be a struggle. Another fellow said, good-naturedly, “I’ve heard it said that God gives us four answers to prayer: Yes, No, Maybe and Forget About It!” (Or “fuggedaboutit” in New York parlance.) We laughed.
Then one woman volunteered that prayers of celebration are important. “When something good happens to you or your friends or family, we should all pray.” Wow, that’s so true. I told her that I’d have to rewrite the book and call it “Eleven Prayers You Can’t Live Without.”
Naturally we talked about how vital, how essential it is to pray for others. Here we do it at the office through OurPrayer—an inspiration to me every time I log on. But I was also thinking about the woman who asked me to sign a book for her and her husband. “He’s going to have surgery tomorrow for a brain tumor.” She was hopeful—much of the tumor seemed to be benign—but they had a young daughter and her worry was palpable.
At the end of the talk, a lady near the front said, “We need to pray for someone who’s having brain surgery tomorrow.” It turned out he was sitting all the way in the back with his daughter. “Can we do a laying-on of hands?”
That was exactly what we did, gathering in a circle, praying for his healing, for the doctors’ skill and for peace of mind for his family.
What a perfect way to end a talk on prayer. As I wrote in the book, “Every writer hopes to be read, but I would be just as happy if you stopped reading me, dog-eared a page or marked a spot in your e-read and prayed instead.” That was just what happened. Continued prayers for him.