My husband and I are both involved in church ministry. He co-leads a Sunday evening service at The Well, a new worshiping community here in Atlanta, and I facilitate spiritual formation groups and classes. Year-round, no matter the season or the holiday, prayers are always needed and requested. Polls have shown that 75% of Americans believe prayer is an important part of daily life.
During the holiday season, people feel the pain of loneliness and grief more acutely. They may struggle in body, mind and spirit most during the time we are encouraged to be happy and joyful. The light of the season often reveals a deep darkness in peoples’ lives, which may be magnified by conflicts or issues in our nation or elsewhere in the world.
Prayer may not always be an instant fix for external circumstances or issues, but it has to the power to change us from the inside out. Research on the tangible effects of prayer demonstrates that it can improve self-control, reduce aggression, help people be more forgiving, increase feelings of unity and trust, and offset the negative effects of stress.
There may be no conclusive scientific proof that prayer is healing, but people by and large appreciate and are comforted by being prayed for. And prayer allows those who may not have any other way to help to be able to offer something meaningful to a loved one or community in need.
“Help” is a prayer that is always answered. It doesn’t matter how you pray–with your head bowed in silence, or crying out in grief, or dancing. Churches are good for prayer, but so are garages and cars and mountains and showers and dance floors. Years ago I wrote an essay that began, “Some people think that God is in the details, but I have come to believe that God is in the bathroom.”
― Anne Lamott
Make time to give a prayer. Your prayers don’t have to be fancy. You don’t need to be in a special place or even bow your head. Our Creator knows your heart and craves for the opportunity to connect deeply with you in loving conversation.
Feel free to share your experience or your creative suggestions. If you’re on Twitter or Instagram, share using the #24daysofgiving hashtag. Let’s spread some love and good cheer!
Did you miss a day?
Day 1: Give yourself 5 minutes
Day 2: Give someone your attention
Day 3: Give time to a worthy cause
Day 4: Give someone a helping hand
Day 5: Give a cup of coffee or tea
Day 6: Give 3 words of love
Day 7: Give a handwritten note
Day 8: Give hugs
Day 9: Give blessings
Day 13: Give a nice greeting
Day 14: Give yourself a day off
Day 15: Give words of encouragement
Day 16: Give in to wonderment
Day 17: Give your light to others
Day 18: Give someone a meal
Day 19: Give a kind word
Day 20: Give yourself a treat
#24daysofgiving is an Advent experiment in being called to come into being through the practices of love and compassion, while reflecting on the coming of Christ into the world.
(Image credit: http://www.lightstock.com)