Saturday, April 26, 2008

Prayer Chain

Last week I asked to be put on the prayer chain at HappyChurch. The organizer is one of my favorite people there, and talking to her about the prayer-type help (support, encouragement, energy, etc.) I was going to need over the next several weeks felt better -- safer -- somehow than standing up in church (which means getting the pastor's attention from behind his back, which feels very odd) and talking about it. I have no idea who is on the prayer chain -- both the chain members and the prayer requests are confidential -- but she told me Sunday that the people were so very happy to pray for me. And honestly I have felt a kind of buoying presence as I've worked through the things on my list since I asked for prayer-chain prayers.

This poem that came via the Writer's Almanac this morning made think of that.

Prayer Chain

My mother called to tell me
about an old classmate of mine who

was dying on the parish prayer chain—
or was very sick—or destitute—

or it had not worked out—the marriage—
or the kids were all on drugs—and

all the old mothers were praying intensely
for all the pain of their children

and for life—they were praying for life—
in their quiet rooms—sipping decaf coffee—

I bet they've been praying for me at times—
so I'll find my way—so I won't rob a bank—

I'll take them—the mystical prayers of old mothers—
it matters—all this patient and purposeful love.

--by Tim Nolan