Prayer is not merely what we say with our lips, but what we do with our lives. It is what we work for; how we act; what we believe.
Inspired by Psalm 111
God is good! — I’m reminded of this anew
every time I am with my friends:
their wisdom, good humor
and unfailing encouragement
lifts my spirit and soothes my soul.
And laughter! — that precious gift,
which humans alone can share:
which lets us admit our own mistakes
regain a sense of perspective,
and eases our care-worn hearts.
Our lives are nourished —
not by bread alone,
nor exclusively by the Word
that proceeds from the mouth of God (Mt 4:4),
but also by the precious, sustaining love
of our community:
the friends and family
who give of themselves to us
through acts of compassion and care,
and sometimes just by being there.
For they, too, bring redemption
and restoration to our lives.
They lift us above the stormy seas
of troubles and trials and mind-numbing tasks;
with telephone calls and text messages,
emails and YouTube links,
grins and winks and greeting cards,
Sunday brunches, and shopping trips.
Radiantly they shine forth God’s love —
taken shape in human form.
When God is sometimes silent,
they speak the Saving Word:
filling our hearts with hope
and belief in the possible.
They remind us that God is good,
and is still at work in our world.
May we do as much for others.
Prayer is more than mere words. A person can say, “I’m sorry,” but feel no regret and have no intention of changing his ways. Anyone can offer a table blessing without being remotely grateful for the gifts we have received. It’s easy to recite the Lord’s Prayer, but hard to “forgive others as we have been forgiven.”
Prayer is not merely what we say, but what we do. Prayers are important; giving guidance to our lives and outlining our intentions — but they are not worth the paper they’re printed on if we don’t put them into practice.
If we pray for peace in the world, we can’t continue to fight with our neighbors, bicker with our spouse, yell at our children, curse our co-workers .... and then wonder why God isn’t changing things. If we ask the Beloved to bring hope and joy into the world, we have to do our part in the building of the Kingdom. We are to treat others as we want to be treated.
Prayer is not merely what we say with our lips, but what we do with our lives. It is what we work for; how we act; what we believe. We are to be doers of the Word, and not merely hearers who go on about our business like those who do not follow the Lord (James 1:22).
We are poor Christians indeed if we do not embody our prayers — if we do not, to coin a phrase, “put our lives where our mouths are.” In true prayer the words and the worshipper are united: the prayer and the pray-er become one.
Faithful Christian witness is rarely what we may consider “heroic” or “noteworthy”; few of us are called to be Martin Luther King or Mother Teresa. Yet both Martin and Teresa needed something all of us can give: the gift of prayerful, caring friendship.
Life in this world is complicated, often difficult, sometimes heartbreaking — it is also filled with radiant joy, sudden insights, silly stories, annoying commercials, orange poppies, bad perfume, awe-inspiring grandeur, lousy movies, new puppies, first dates, paper jams and traffic accidents.
In all these things the presence of a friend makes a difference.
Time and again the gospels tell us that Jesus was with his disciples and friends. They shared breakfast, lunch, and dinner together; sometimes they went on picnics in the country. They walked along the beach together, hiked into the mountains, and went fishing on the lake. They worked together and prayed together, and sometimes went to visit each other’s families. In modern terms, Jesus “hung out with his friends.”
That may not sound like much... until you imagine what it would be like to walk with the Lord by your side. Imagine being with someone who heard your every prayer, who understood your every desire. Imagine having a friend who wanted the best for you, who forgave your shortcomings and sought your greatest good.
Jesus didn’t look for perfection in His friends and disciples, inviting all sorts of folks to walk with Him: tax collectors, warriors, fisherfolk; some good, some failing, most struggling. He didn’t nag, he didn’t condemn, he didn’t cast anyone aside. And all were transformed by his love, compassion, and mercy. In His life they found life.
As Christians, we have been called to follow the Lord Jesus: to live as he lived, to bless as he blessed, to forgive as he forgave; to reach out to others with love, compassion, and mercy. We are to be the kind of friend that He was.
Prayer is not only what we say with our lips, but what we do with our lives.
Virtual hugs and real-time blessings,
Reflect on those who have embodied Christ’s loving friendship throughout your life. Give thanks to the Beloved for those who have laughed with you in good times, encouraged you in bad times, and walked with you in-between times.