That They May Be One
Updated: Jun 16, 2022
There are many ways for us to exercise our faith. Actively working for the needs of others is way up on the list. It’s pretty impactful to give someone a hands up when it’s needed the most. Being a good listener. Giving someone else your full, undivided attention is a great way to minister to others. Maybe the one that comes to mind first is prayer. Prayer is at the very core of what it means to be a Christian. Sometimes our prayer is for us. Sometimes it is for others. “Lord, God, life is very difficult right now. I pray that you will come into my life and give me peace.” Sometimes we pray on behalf of others. “God, I ask for your healing touch for my neighbor who was in a car accident recently. I pray you will work through the hands of the talented doctors and nurses to provide quick healing to my friend.” What I love so much about prayer is the humbleness required to make those prayers. My prayers feel most powerful when I feel as if I have nothing other to give than my prayers. “O God, I fall on my knees and bow my head before you because you are the Lord, and I really need to know you are there.” It’s not as easy as it may seem. It’s not easy to tell anyone how much you need them, even God.
In today’s Gospel, we see Jesus praying for his disciples. Jesus takes this opportunity to not only pray for his disciples as they are about to head out into the world with a message of hope and love, but to also pray for those whom the disciples will meet….that they all may be one. Not a bad prayer at all. Jesus is praying for all of us, not just a select few to follow, not just the ordained. All of us. May the prayers lifted up today move us forward into the week ahead and may those prayers continue to be impactful with those whom we meet. The Lord be with you…and also with you and you and you. Greet your fellow parishioners today in peace and then carry that peace with you into the world where it can be shared with the check-out person at the grocery, the clerk at the convenience store, the server at a restaurant. Peace be with you. Just saying these words now fill me with peace and bring God closer to my consciousness. The simple extension of prayer and peace to you immediately returns that peace back to me. As you Father are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us. May the prayers we give, which draw you closer to us, also be given to others, drawing them closer to God. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Be encouraged to pray and be open to receiving the prayers of others, a cycle of prayer that continues to bless everyone.
I’ve got a fun, little book called Pray All Ways, by Edward Hays. From the back cover, To pray all ways is the unspoken invitation cleverly hidden in the admonition of Jesus to ‘Pray Always.’ Father Hays challenges us to explore the common and ordinary in our lives as the ‘stuff’ from which are made whole and holy people. One of my favorite chapters in the book is called The Prayer of Napping. Who doesn’t love a good nap, and it’s good for you! Not only are we resting our bodies, but we’re also letting go. For some, a practice of praying right before bed is important to their daily rhythm. It is a time in the day when we may be better able to let go of the things weighing down on us. This time of rest can be an expression that we are able to allow the Divine Mystery to take over in the midst of troubles and deadlines. Taking time to rest is taking the time to rest in God. Maybe we don’t have to try so hard to find God in our lives. Just rest and let go. Stop and listen. What or Who do I notice when I actually do stop to notice? Even Jesus took the time to rest in prayer. Mark 4 tells us the story of Jesus asleep in the ship during a great storm. The disciples are frantic and come to Jesus only to find him asleep. Jesus awoke and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased and there was a great calm. I can imagine Jesus lying back down and saying to the others, “Don’t worry! I’m going to continue my nap, but know that I am still with you and my prayers are with you.
We are all disciples. Focus on that thought in times of trouble. Like the disciples in the storm, there will be times in our lives when we are afraid, uncertain how events will unfold. We too can use the power of prayer to overcome difficult times. Just don’t let the power of prayer end there. Be disciples. Use the power of prayer for our own needs, but then continue in our prayer to encourage others. It would be nice if we all had enough money to solve all the needs of the poor. It would be nice if we had the resources and energy to help those in need find a new home and fulfilling work. Most of the time, that isn’t possible. We can be disciples. We can go out into our communities sharing a message of hope and love through our words, actions, and prayers.
May this prayer from Paul to the Ephesians be helpful for you…
For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. [Ephesians 3:14–21]
 Edward Hays, Pray All Ways (Leavenworth, KS: Forest of Peace Publishing, 1981), back cover.