We had several questions last week about why people should pray out loud at all so we decided to tackle that issue head on in our group Sunday night. What emerged from that meeting was such a treat! We've been working through some chapters in Ben Patterson's book, The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms and this week we were in Ps. 133. The author opened the chapter talking about the first time he really knew that God loved him so we took some time to talk about the first time we each figured that out. In the author's life it was a time when he was in a really rich fellowship of believers and was being loved in community. That's kinda where our group is right now too.
When you look up the word "shaken" in Acts, you find out that God shook the place three times in that book, and all three times were when believers were praying in unity, "in one accord." So, I posited that it was hard for us to pray "in one accord" if we can't hear what each other is praying. That's partly true, but God showed the other part too. One person told about times in prayer meetings when someone started praying exactly what he and someone else were thinking at the same time. I'm sure I've had that happen too.
Yesterday, my day was disrupted by a sick kid. When we went to the pediatrician's office, I discovered that the purpose for being there was not to care for my child, but to care for my pediatrician--a fellow prayer warrior. The answer to her need for understanding came out of conversations I'd had with another friend last week--conversations where God was clearly steering our thoughts and hearts. As I called my friend later that evening to tell her what God had done through that conversation, I was again astounded by her faith and maturity. I realized that as I comforted her in her crises, it was not the same kind of comfort I would have given someone who has no hope or has no ability to walk in hope. She really had the capacity to allow herself to be strong despite the circumstances because of the hope that had come from perserverance in her trials. James 1:4 tells us that "Perserverance must finish its work so we may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." I thought I'd never see that kind of saint. I thought I'd never be that kind of saint.
In reality, I'm not that kind of saint, at least not by myself, and neither is she. Together, with the Father, we are complete--not lacking anything. I guess Faith truly is a team sport.