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The Journey of a Prayer Request
By Mary Kincaid

I can't begin to count the number of prayers that have been said for so many people by our St. Luke's Prayer Group. We officially started ten years ago full of enthusiasm and sincerity. In the beginning we used the telephone to communicate the prayer requests. That proved to be unsuccessful since so many people weren't home when called and the prayers weren't getting through. So then I tried to deliver the requests by going to Osco every Saturday night and making copies of my hand written prayer list to pass out at church on Sunday morning. But still the complaints kept coming. Next, the genius of the computer and printer accompanied by the magnificent convenience of email came into my life which corrected the communication problem, both in sending and receiving prayer requests. I ask that all requests are sent to me by Fridays, if possible, so I can type up the list of names. That is the first step in the journey. I email everyone in the prayer group and then take the list to church on Saturdays. After vespers Father Andrew and everyone present say the intercessory prayers for those on the list. Everyone's name is mentioned in prayer. We also light a seven day candle and after the service it is put outside in front of the cross to burn for those being prayed for. I also put about ten copies of the list in the narthex on the west wall for anyone who does not have a computer. The prayer list is then handed to Fr. Andrew on Sunday during the Liturgy and he offers every name in prayer following the Little Entrance. We're not done yet. Fr. Andrew also mentions every name in his Tuesday and Thursday prayer service at 6:30 am for two weeks. Then the work of the "prayer warriors" begins. We are about forty or so people strong and have the privilege to pray for others according to our own schedules. I like to keep the list right in my bible so I don't forget anyone, something I learned from Alexandria Lukashonak. Periodically I also send names to monasteries requesting prayers for those in need. So you see, we take our prayer requests very seriously and our enthusiasm and sincerity has only increased over our ten years of praying as a group.

So why do we pray? I know for me there are many reasons. First, Jesus prayed and prayed often. Could there be any better example? I need no further explanation on the importance of prayer. If it was right thing for Him to do, it is most definitely the necessary thing for me to do. Also He wants to hear from us, which is amazing to me. We can all talk to Him when ever we want. I'm not saying that every prayer request will break out in a miracle or be answered in the way we think we want, but He is listening and always knows what is best for us. The power of prayer really hit me hard in a bible class many years ago. The instructor spoke from a book, "After Death," giving us an example of the power of prayer. The story was about an angel who visited a saint who had been praying daily for a departed soul. The angel said, "Stop praying for him, he is receiving his just punishment and you're praying him out of hell." How amazing is that?

I could go on and on about how groups of people in hospitals who were prayed for did better then those who weren't prayed for. It's no longer a secret, prayer works. In Luke 18:1 we are told to always pray and not lose heart. Our call is to pray constantly (1 Thess 5:17). There is no greater gift one person can give another than prayer. As a further extension of sympathy and caring we have in the narthex prayer cards available for a donation. These beautiful cards have PSALM 4 printed on the inside and can be used for any prayer request needed: health, spiritual strengthening, guidance, travel, employment etc. There are also "In Loving Memory" cards, letting the family of the newly departed know a donation has been made to the church in the departed's name and that they will be remembered in the church services. These are just further extensions of sympathy and caring.So you see, the prayer request has quite a journey and hopefully never an end.

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