We Are the Answer to Each Other’s Prayers
How often do we go through life praying (or begging) for stuff—a best friend, a new job, an end to cancer?
Our on-going list of what we want and hope for can become the central focus of our thoughts, so much so that we become distraught when things don’t turn out the way we want. We lose hope: hope in life; hope in God.
But what if the answers to our prayers are right under our nose? What if we looked long and hard enough to find many of the answers we’ve been praying for are already there in tangible ordinary ways, with skin and bones, teeth and real flesh, maybe not exactly the way we expected but in the end far better than we could have crafted or imagined?
A friend develops cancer. We pray for her to be healed. But she isn’t.
The cancer spreads. She’s surrounded with daily visits from people who love her, encourage her, and share memories with her.
They laugh and cry together. Reminisce.
Share their fears and joys. Their uncertainties. And somehow the pain of dying isn’t as lonely.
A high-powered executive loses his job one day. Corporate downsizing, they tell him after thirty years of loyalty to the company.
He prays for a new job in the corporate world, one that will hire him at age 60. But the doors keep slamming shut.
He returns to his first love: drawing and painting, as a way of passing the time, processing the rejection and out of the blue a new door opens.
A new friend walks into his life marvels at his artwork. Encourages him to pursue his passion to become a full time artist.
And before you know it, he’s drawing and painting and exhibiting his work at a half-dozen venues. Next he’s also teaching art at a local college.
A cheap coincidence? Maybe not; perhaps an answer to prayer.
Unexpected. Unplanned. Unfolding.
Maybe we are the answer to each other’s prayers and often don’t know it. We walk into people’s lives, sometimes intentionally, sometimes by accident, and the need we have to find connection, to experience empathy and encouragement flows through us and into each other, often unnoticed.
“Christ has no body now but ours,” St. Theresa reminds us. “No hands. No feet on earth but ours.”
Perhaps we have been gifted with both an awesome responsibility and yet a simple truth: we are the answer to each other’s prayers. Here and now. Flesh and bones. Ordinary and divine.
Who or what have you been praying for?
How might your prayer have already been answered?
Where are you the answer to someone else’s prayer?