Friday, March 25, 2005

Bearing Burdens

I participated tonight in my congregation's prayer vigil. This is one of the most meaningful opportunities the church offers me each year. As I knelt in the sanctuary working through the various prayer requests people had filled out, I had a sense of being connected with these people and crying out with them before God. It is such an incredible blessing to be able to do this. And yet it is also draining.

There are so many people in my congregation right now suffering from cancer, it breaks my heart. It's been a difficult Lent for our church. I've known it from various prayer requests that have been circulating, and I can feel it in talking with people.

Tonight as I prayed I felt a real sense that I was bearing the burdens of our church family before God. It was a blessing to be able to do it, but I felt what an incredible weight it truly is. When I came home, I shared with my wife how it grieved me. Then I added, "At least we have prayer." What would life be like without prayer?

On this night, when we remember how Christ bears the sins and sorrows of the whole world, I am so very thankful. I would not be able to bear these burdens if I weren't able to turn them over to him.


LutheranChik said...

During Lent we've been collecting worshippers' written prayer requests and reading them aloud during the Prayers of the Church. I've had the opportunity to be the community "pray-er" a couple of times, and I agree that this is a very moving thing, to read these very heartfelt petitions. Some of the children's, of course, are cute, and make people chuckle: "Dear God: Please make sure that the Easter bunny comes to our house." Some of the prayer requests are very poignant -- someone fervently requesting God's peace in a family torn by some unnamed internal strife. To me it's a great honor to be entrusted with reading these requests aloud.

Andy said...

One of the requests that really broke my heart was from a child requesting God's peace in a family torn.