Prayer in Action

January 18th, 2021

“See how these Christians love one another.”- Tertullian

Jeanine brought us dinner on Sunday evening. She carried into our house a large pot of chicken soup, along with some bread, fruit, and gelato. Karin was thrilled that Jeanine gave us all this.

She told Jeanine, “Oh, thank you so much! This is a lifesaver!”

Karin may have exaggerated, but not by much. Getting a home cooked meal from somebody is a big deal for us. We don’t hardly ever cook. We care for our toddler grandson, Asher, 24/7. It is difficult for us to find time to sit down and eat a meal, much less find the time to prepare one. We get takeout sometimes, but mostly we just grab a bite to eat when Asher is napping.

Jeanine didn’t have to cook for us. She didn’t have to drive half an hour to our home to deliver the food. She knew that we are continually focused on Asher, and she wanted to help us. She wanted to care for us as we care for Asher.

Jeanine and her husband, Kevin, are members of our church. They go to the same Mass that we do each Sunday. Karin used to sing in the choir with Jeanine in the days before Asher came into our lives. They are good friends.

Karin and I always bring Asher with us to Mass. Well, we have to do that. We certainly can’t leave a one-year-old at home by himself. Jeanine greets Asher when she comes into the church. She smiles at the boy, and he smiles back.

Jeanine told us, “We love Asher. He brings us such joy!”

Jeanine wasn’t just being nice. She meant what she said. Asher is exceedingly popular at Mass. He really does bring joy to the members of the congregation.

One woman said to us, “You do such a good job with him. He is so well-behaved.”

I don’t know how to respond to that. The kid is only thirteen months old. Can a child that age act “well-behaved” in any meaningful sense? He is who he is. Asher isn’t doing anything. He is just being Asher, and he is loved for that reason alone.

People at our church say that they pray for us. We are grateful for that. Quite often they do more than just pray. They ask us how we are. They call or write to us. They give us things for Asher. Sometimes, like Jeanine, they feed us.

Prayer, if authentic, motivates the pray-er to do something. Prayer leads to words, which lead to action. If I sincerely pray for a person, I will reach out to them. I will help them as best I can. I may not be able to solve their problems. I may not be able to ease their suffering. However, I will ensure that they are not forgotten.

Prayer and love are intimately related. Christians are supposed to love each other and pray for each other. Sometimes we pray, but we don’t really love. If that is the case, then our prayers are sterile and dead.

Many Christians have gone out of their way to help Karin, Asher, and myself. I have to note that we have also received prayers and assistance from our friends who are Jewish, Buddhist, and Muslim. Christians do not have a monopoly on love and compassion, not by any means.

We are grateful to all of these people. We only hope that we can pray for them and render them aid when they need us. We want our prayers to be more than just good intentions.

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