Upon the death of prominent people, it’s not unusual to hear TV newscasters say something like “our thoughts and prayers are with the family of ….” I don’t know about the newscasters’ faith lives, but that phrase often seems shallow or hollow to me.
I know one women’s group, however, where offers of prayer are anything but shallow or hollow.
At Trinity Lutheran (Camp Hill, Pa.), Women of Trinity have two prayer ministries. The intercessory prayer group, which began in 1986, meets each week in the church library. They gather the prayer petitions placed in boxes by congregation members and they pray out loud for these concerns. Sometimes it can take two hours for all the prayers to be voiced. Those in this group also pray at home daily for everyone on the intercessory list.
One woman asked for prayers when she was facing breast cancer. She later joined the intercessory prayer group, as a bit of “payback.” Having been prayed for and now praying for others has been a significant step in her walk with Christ.
Women of Trinity also have a 24-hour prayer vigil that responds to people in crisis. This watch involves individuals who have committed to praying for a particular 15-minute segment in the day or night. The prayer vigil springs into action where in other congregations a prayer chain might be used: an auto accident, a death, a bad diagnosis, etc. Imagine the peace that must come to the person in need, knowing that for a solid 24 hours your particular need is being voiced to God in prayer.
Are you a member of a prayer group?
Linda Post Bushkofsky is executive director of Women of the ELCA. This blog first ran in July 2009. The group’s prayer ministries continue. You can visit Women of Trinity on Facebook.