Before Lent I barely prayed, and even if I did, it was always short with little reflection. Admittedly, I spent more time plugged into my computer, my phone, or my music than making time to pray. However, three weeks into Lent, I have felt great progress in the arena of personal prayer. Though I’m so happy about this progress on my own, it’s made me realize another deficiency in my prayer life: I find it hard to pray with others.
Why am I so afraid to pray with others? First, there’s the initial step of even asking. I would always be afraid that my act would be seen as silly, or maybe even pitiful. As a person with the personality who hates inconveniencing people, I normally analyze all my outcomes to a negative effect sometimes.
However, if Lent this season has taught me anything, it’s taught me to be less afraid to be vulnerable. So I jumped the gun and asked my roommate, also one of my closest friends, to pray with me, after a particularly tough and down day. Maybe it was the stress, or the worries in my heart, but all I knew in the moment was that I didn’t want to be alone, and I needed to vocalize my prayers with someone. Together, we prayed The Lord’s Prayer, as well as intentions for the week.
Praying out loud felt like the greatest gift of the day, because I didn’t feel alone. As beautiful as solitary prayer can be, my heart felt a great sense of love and relief in shared prayer. Prayer channeled my need to voice sickness in my heart. The moments after this prayer, the sense of relief, gave me the hope I needed to carry on to the next day. The acceptance of my friend to see me at a very vulnerable moment made me appreciate her more. In the end, what made me scared turned out to be one of God’s greatest gift so far.
Going forward, I want to pray out loud with others more often. I see shared prayer as a sign of not only love, but also of great trust. Being vulnerable on my own is wonderful, but being vulnerable with another solidifies bonds and friendships. Prayer, love, and friendship: the fortifiers of the heart and protectors to the ups and downs of life.