Wednesday Word: International Day of Prayer
International Day of Prayer
This past Monday evening the Episcopal News Service (ENS) posted an article about an international day of prayer. This came about when Pope Francis invited all Christians to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic “with the universality of prayer, of compassion, and of tenderness.” The invitation to pray is specific in its request: that on March 25 (today), the Feast of the Annunciation, all Christians pray the Lord's Prayer at noon in their particular time zones.
Prayer is an important part of our lives. Prayer, essentially, reflects our relationship with God; because prayer is relationship. Prayer is not the quarter that you drop into the great vending machine in the sky, hoping to receive your specific request. Instead, prayer is where we express our joys and sorrows, our delights and our burdens, our victories and our failures. Prayer is essentially a conversation with the beloved.
You know that Pope Francis understands this because of what he requested: Let's all come together and in unison pray the prayer that Jesus taught us. He didn't say, “Let's all pray for an end to the pandemic,” (although that would be great), nor did he ask for people to pray for anything specific. He asked that we pray a common prayer: “Hallowed by your name . . . Your will be done . . . forgive us as we have forgiven . . . deliver us from evil . . .”
So today at noon, in whatever time zone you happen to be, I invite you to join with me, with other Christians, both lay and clergy, and the Pope, in praying a prayer we have known since our earliest days.
I have written several times about the need to stay connected even as we are having to keep our distance. I don't know what affect this international day of prayer will have. I am hopeful that at 12:30 local time, coronavirus cases miraculously end. But maybe even more so, I am hopeful that this international day prayer helps remind people that praying in common is yet another way we are connected. I am hopeful that it reminds us of the need, as Jesus showed us, to pray always.
On this day when we celebrate the Annunciation of Christ to Mary, on this day when we remember a young woman who said, “Let it be with me according to your word,” let us gather together in our respective time zones and lift our voices in prayer, “On earth, as it is in heaven. Amen.”