At Reservoir Church, we have always loved to pray.
Yesterday, my friend Dorothy told me a story from her early years in the church. It was sometime just after around 2000, and she was part of an all night prayer meeting we were hosting in a Cambridge church building that had loaned us their space for the night. Back then, we were renting space on Sundays in the Morse School in Cambridge, just across the river from Boston University, where Dorothy was a new student. Dorothy had seen our T ads her first year there and found some friends to come visit the church with her the following year. She’s been with us ever since.
Dorothy remembers that all night prayer meeting vividly. Not because of what she prayed for, or how many people were there, or why the meeting was even called. She remembers that during prayer, though, another participant prayed words for her that seemed so good and so true they could only be from the mind of God. She cherishes these words to this day.
Today, Dorothy co-leads our intercession team. We’ve always had a small group of church members whose job is to pray for our pastors and our church. They pray every day on their own and take turns praying during our Sunday services together. It’s not a very efficient use of people’s times. We could have them doing other, more practical jobs for the church.
But we love to pray.
Prayer calms our busy minds and gives us peace. Prayer connects us to the needs of our lives and to our neighbors and friends and enemies with compassion. It leaves us with clarity and faith. And it energizes our work. Sometimes, we think our prayers even change the world, or at least some part of it.
How this works is a mystery. Why does it seem that some prayers are answered and others not? How could a single God listen when every second, so many people are praying for so many things, all around the world? What are we to think of the many prayers said for parking spaces and football games and test scores? And why would God want us to pray in the first place, instead of just doing the things God wants to do without putting us through the bother of asking?
Beats me – again, it’s a mystery.
But it does seem that there’s something about prayer that makes us God’s children. The talking, the asking, the waiting all create a bond and a hope that seems even more powerful when we do it together and that sometimes seems to move mountains in us and the things we pray for.
So we keep praying.
And this Sunday, I’m excited to announce an upcoming 24-hour event at our church. Non-stop, for a full day, our church will pray for our current Art of Neighboring campaign. We’ll ask God to do more than we can ask or imagine as our church members know and love our neighbors as ourselves, and as our church serves our neighborhood of North Cambridge this spring. We’ll pray big and bold prayers. We’ll enjoy the quiet and beauty of our church sanctuary dome. We’ll enjoy the company of friends and the sense that God is with us.
And some of us might just even hear God talk back to us, with words we’ll be remembering fifteen years from now.
Join us later this month. Read more, and sign up at: https://www.reservoirchurch.org/event/24-hours-prayer/