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.

BWe are the Answer to each others Prayersut 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? 


  1. too often i take for granted the many things in my life that are so precious as life itself but seem to pass me by without a second thought – every morning i go to the gym and see folks with physical disabilities struggling & pushing through their workouts, all smiling – amazing to me and a constant reminder – you feel their joy their happiness they are ‘alive & well’ –

  2. Part of prayer is to surrender to the possibility of what may yet be revealed and acknowledge that you are not God. It helps me to center and acknowledge my own inadequacies, the many things I want to do, and provide a good check for my ego and pride which can get out of hand if not checked.

    • Phil,

      Good thoughts. Your reflection reminds me of the invitation to humility and trust. Humility (humus–soil) reminds me to be interdependent with God; to listen for God’s guidance in the Quiet each day.

      Trust, reminds me that I need to trust God is guiding me and if I let life unfold and listen to God’s wisdom and follow it as best as I can, life works and love wins.

      Thanks for your insight and thoughts!


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