What is prayer for?

I had been planning to write something about praying today, but John McLuckie got there first and said it better than I did – see his post >Sometimes I Just Sit.

I find the hardest part of praying to be intercessory prayer and get bewildered by those for whom it appears to be the only form of prayer. Asking God to rearrange the universe in my favour just seems so….well unlikely to succeed. When I think about it I find myself lost in the paradoxes.

And yet, now and then something happens which somehow connects me with someone else’s prayer and makes me think again. Do I mean that something odd seems to have happened which couldn’t have apart from God’s intervention? No, of course not. That isn’t a God worth believing in. After all, we might expect God to sort out hunger, violence and pain before worrying about my ailments, infirmities or desires.

No, it isn’t that.

More the miracle of knowing that someone is thinking of you. Of knowing that someone is holding you in God’s presence. Of knowing that someone cares. Is that not miracle enough?

I tend to set my mobile phone so that it does not go off during morning prayer. Thus, I’ve set it to go into silent mode each morning just before I go into silent mode and then begin Morning Prayer with others in church. The church makes a little buzz to itself as it stops taking calls and begins to ignore the outside world. It turns on with a similar vibration half an hour later.

However, this has another function, which I’ve realised recently. If I’m not at morning prayer – as was the case today, the phone still does its thing. All of a sudden at the usual time, the phone starts to tremble, tremble, tremble. Effectively it acts as a warning, a notification, a reminder that somewhere, someone is praying for me.

I mean that in both senses – the chances are that someone in St Mary’s is remembering me in what I am doing today and also in the other sense that they are doing the praying that I usually do for me, in that place whilst I am away.

I find both of those senses that someone is praying for me intensely moving and somewhere hidden within that must be a reality about intercession which I somehow will not let go of.