Today I received a thankful e-mail message from one of our Bon Secours Associates. Her baby granddaughter, Madelyn, was born one month ago prematurely and spent a week in the NICU before staff deemed it was safe to send her home. Prayer went out among the community of Bon Secours Associates and Sisters the moment we knew of her birth and concerns for her well-being.
Madelyn’s grateful grand mom wrote to say that little Madelyn has gained over a pound in just the past 15 days and is doing great. She said, “The power of prayer is so strong and real, praise Jesus! Please share our thanks to you all.”
The experience of the efficacy of our prayer for one another is a subject about which we could write volumes! Many of us have been touched by the mysterious hand of God at times when we were in crisis, whether of circumstances, illness, or the situation of a loved one. I have heard many people say, “I felt the presence of the prayers of others during my difficult time; it was as if the prayers were lifting and carrying me.”
It is an awesome gift of God that we can reach out to the concrete circumstances of one another’s lives and positively affect them by our prayers. The Scriptures tell us to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). God’s power works through our channel of faith, Jesus said many times. After many of his healings, his words to the healed were just that: “Your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” Isn’t that remarkable? Jesus gives credit for the person’s healing, not to his presence with them, but to their own inner belief that Jesus was able to heal them.
We trust that Jesus, as the power of God, was an integral part of that process, but, still, I wonder if we too often fail to appreciate the difference our faith makes in moving the mountains in our lives. It, then, behooves us to seek ways we can grow and strengthen our faith.
As I write this, I received an e-mail from another Associate, whose aunt has had two surgeries and is critically ill:“By the way, I heard last night from my mom that my Aunt is moving her legs and feet, trying to move her arms, eyes opened but not focused, brain stable (no bleeding or swelling), and she turned her head. We are praising and thanking God for this miracle and looking forward to more healing. Please continue to pray. Thank you so much for your support and prayers!”
We all can think of times when our prayers were not answered as we hoped, or in the time frame that we expected. And this is often what sets off a crisis of faith, this sense that “my prayer wasn’t worthy enough,” or that “no one heard my prayer at all, where is God?” or “what is wrong with me, is God mad at me?” Where is God, we ask, when the unthinkable happens in our lives? We can go from the mountaintop to the darkest valley very quickly when events in our lives threaten to overwhelm us.
As the crippled man, unable to walk, was brought in by his friends on a stretcher (dropped down from the roof, in fact!) in order to be healed by Jesus, we can lean on other prayer warriors in our lives when we are in times of doubt or struggle. There is strength in our connectedness, and prayers of intercession for one another knit us more closely to one another and God’s will for our lives. Often we experience the presence of God through the compassionate touch of others.
The charism of Bon Secours is to be the hands and heart of Christ to the poor, sick and dying in a spirit of compassion, healing and liberation. The response of those called to be Sisters or Associates of Bon Secours is one of sharing God’s love with others compassionately and non-judgmentally, to answer prayer by being present. The power of prayer is manifest in many ways, and often comes in the form of caring and loving people who reach out to us in our hour of need. Prayers raised to our unseen God are answered in myriad forms. May we be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s promptings in our lives in case we may be given the opportunity to be the answer to someone’s prayer for help, love or healing.