Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7
I was watching baby Eden alone one day when my phone rang. On the other end was my friend, Kelly.
“How curable is leukemia in children, Anna?”
This was not the sort of question my friends usually had for their doctor pal, but the blood work for her then 2-year-old, Allie, indicated that she was now facing Cancer. “Oh very curable,” I tried to assure her.
But the greater assurance came after the phone call that night, as a handful of the church family tearfully squished into a conference room at the children’s hospital and cried out to our Father. It reminded me of long nights the summer before when Eden’s dad, Jake, suddenly found himself in heart failure, and the congregation cried out to God in desperation that his life might be spared.
In these moments of intensity, I have learned to find peace in prayer. God answered these prayers for health and life, but more than that He made his presence known- His good, loving, and peaceful presence.
I’ve also felt his presence in the music of our Sunday gatherings, prayers in of themselves praising the big God of the Universe and His sacrifice for our sins. And at first, I was more than a little intimidated to go to the back of the church and ask a pastor for prayer. “What would he think?” and “what would other people think?” But my anxiety over life itself- work, family, loneliness, and guilt became stronger than my fear of being prayed for, and this prayer time soon became a treasured part of my Karis experience. I have felt the peace of God wash over me with a hand on my shoulder and a voice lifting up my weak faith.
Our weakness is evident when we look at the Cross, and one of the greatest privileges for me is to serve communion at Karis Church. As each believer comes to break bread in remembrance of His body into juice symbolizing his blood I pray for him or her to know God more fully, to find rest in Him, to serve Him well. Another reminder to pray for our whole church body has been through an app called PrayerMate. I’ve entered prayers for members of our church, our leaders, and our city, and you can follow along by subscribing to our feed. If you are looking for a way to better discipline yourself in the act of prayer, I suggest checking it out!
Praying with and for others is a great privilege, and one I’ve come to treasure more and more through my years at Karis Church. Whether it’s at one of our Missional Community gatherings, with a girlfriend over the phone, in the chapel of the hospital, or sitting in the parking garage, connecting with God in prayer is the most important work of my day. It has become a natural part of my practice of caring for people facing serious illness.
I have also learned to surrender their outcomes, many of them that are not as “good” in the earthly sense as Jake and Allies.’ I have found a peace that passes understanding, and I pray the same for them and with them when I can. Recently I prayed with a woman over her circumstances. When it became her turn to pray, she thanked God profusely for the gift of another day and the gift of His presence. I was humbled by this reminder of thanksgiving.
I thank God for you, Karis Church. Please pray for this doctor pal of yours, that God would guard my heart and mind. I pray the same for you- stay at home moms, students, business leaders, school teachers, and pastors. May God calm your anxieties in each and every situation. May He Himself be your peace.