Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Power of Communal/Corporate Prayer--But On a Smaller Scale

Three weeks ago, as we opened our first day of the retreat to plan the Create in Me retreat, we stood in a circle and the leading pastor asked us what we needed, what we should pray for, specific requests for invitations and miracles (images we'd be using in our retreat).

It was powerful in a way I didn't expect.  I liked hearing about the needs of my fellow retreatents, many of whom I've known for years.  I liked offering up my own need.  I liked being able to pray for us all as the planning retreat progressed.

Why does the power of communal prayer continue to surprise me?  After all, I grew up in a church, where communal praying was what we did.  Lutheran liturgy circles back to prayer again and again.

But our corporate prayer at the retreat was on a much smaller scale.  It was a moving blend of the corporate prayer and individual prayers.  We held each other's hands.  We only had about 8 requests from the group of a dozen or so participants to keep in mind.

I prayed for back-up plans.  My job lately feels more tenuous.  I don't think my job will disappear.  But of course, the 40 or so people in my school who have lost their jobs due to downsizing in the past year probably didn't think their jobs would disappear either.

When I was a teenager, I had no shortage of back-up plans:  "If that college doesn't take me, I'll go to that college."  Even as I progressed through my early adulthood, I had plenty of plans. 

In this current economy, it's harder to believe that I can make a back-up plan or two and that they'll be viable, should I have to use them.  What better time to pray for guidance?

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