Active Participation

“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” —James 5:16

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I’m not sure I can identify when I began to believe in the power of prayer, but I know I was an adult out of college. I was pretty good at faking it up until then. It’s easy to do when you grow up in church and you know what to say to make yourself sound like you’re on the right track.

 

I told people I picked my college and my major because I prayed about it. But really I picked my college because it was twelve hours from home and someplace snowy, and I picked my major because I didn’t want to study anything else. If I prayed about either of those things, it sounded in God’s ears much more like “Please don’t let people give me any guff about this” rather than “Thy will be done.”

 

This is why I’m grateful that God is in the business of making good out of bad, because that may be the story of my life if I consider how many decisions I have made without prayer.

 

I’m not sure when I began to believe that prayer is an essential element of friendship, but I know it took root last January when one of my favorite people on the planet, the mother of a dear friend, was diagnosed with cancer. The prognosis was beyond grim. Doctors told her she had six months if they did nothing, maybe a year with surgery, possibly five if they followed surgery with chemotherapy. Against the prognosis, against the doctors’ best guesses, all of us who loved her prayed for a miracle. And it was the very best thing we could do for her…

 

This is the beginning of another post I wrote for Off the Page, a second in a three part series on Spiritual Friendship. I’m proud of the work I’ve done there, and I’m proud of the work that team is doing. Make sure you pop over there and check out Active Participation. And then consider perusing some of the other articles there. You won’t be disappointed.

As always, thanks for reading. You are good friends.

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God Loves a Crowded House

Crowded House OTP 1

I have been a student of friendship from the time I was a little kid. It was inevitable, I think, because I grew up in a military family and my parents and my brother and I shared more holiday meals with pilots and intelligence officers than we spent with our extended family. One Easter we crowded our duplex on Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii with airmen and women and their families who couldn’t make the trip home to the mainland. Those of us under the age of ten ate our ham and deviled eggs sitting on the front stairs, every chair and sofa cushion and spot on the living room floor claimed by an adult who didn’t want to be alone for the holiday.

And so I watched my parents create homes in our base houses that were open and available for people. There was always a seat for the single enlisted guy, the divorced officer, the wife whose husband was deployed. Even if the mashed potatoes burned and someone had to keep washing silverware so we never ran out of forks, my parents offered people a place for us all to be family, even if it was just for a day, even if it was for only one meal. And from my seat on the stairs, I saw how much that kind of friendship made being in the world a little less hard…

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The rest of this story can be found on Off the Page, a blog for Our Daily Bread Ministries that’s focused on bringing the Bible to life.  I’m still overwhelmed by the gift that is working with that team and getting to share my stories on that site.

This post is the first in a three-part series on Spiritual Friendship that I’m really proud of.

To read the rest, you’re going to have to go to Off the Page and follow along there.

As always, I’m grateful for each of you who take the time to read and ponder and engage with me. You prove that life is better when lived in community.

Happy reading!