The Ways Prayer Can Connect Us

By Anne Maxson

The power and peace found in prayer are quite universal. One of my first experiences recognizing the power of prayer came from the Lutheran church I attended while growing up. When I was a young teenager, we started attending a new congregation and I was introduced to Pastor George. Later in my adolescence, I was questioning my purpose in life and if I even had a purpose. He shared with me that he prayed for members of his congregation every day, that he had a list and he’d rotate through all the names. He then shared that ever since he had first met me, knowing some of the difficulties of my childhood circumstances, I had always been on his list and that he had prayed for me every day. Looking back, I can see the divine help that could be partially due to Pastor George’s prayers to help me navigate a difficult childhood and the pressures, trials, and temptations of adolescence.

Now, in addition to praying for friends, family, and others in need, I frequently submit names for the temple prayer roll. Even my friends and family who are not members of the church ask for names to be added to the prayer roll.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints website states, “When members of the Church become aware of those in need, whether that be because of illness, afflictions, or other challenges, they are invited to place the names of those people on the temple prayer roll. As members participate in temple ordinances, they come together in a prayer circle and unite their faith in behalf of those individuals. Prayer rolls are a special way for Latter-day Saints to follow the Savior’s teachings to pray for each other as they pray in temples around the world.”

In the springtime, I always look forward to another prayer opportunity. I attended a Catholic college in Minnesota for my undergraduate studies. I’m grateful for all that I learned about that wonderful community during my years there. And I’m grateful for the lasting impact that it has had on me. Every year, at the beginning of Lent, they send a letter to alumni asking if there are people for whom the Sisters in the Monastery can pray. The letter that accompanies the request always seems to arrive on a day that I could use a boost and contains a wonderful message. Following is a portion of this year’s letter.

“As we enter this sacred season, the Sisters of St. Scholastica Monastery are especially mindful of you, our cherished alumni, who through your life and your work continue to spread the Gospel values and build up the communities of which you are a part. Through who you are, and all that you do, you extend the goodness of our gracious God, and for this, we are truly thankful.

“We are pleased to continue the special custom begun by our Sister Timothy Kirby in which we offer our alumni the opportunity to ask for the prayers of our retired and infirm Sisters for your particular intentions. This tradition is so meaningful for our Sisters, and we hope, for you as well. Your prayer requests will be placed by the altar in the Sister’s chapel on Benet Hall. Their prayers provide encouragement and support for all of us, and we are both honored and humbled to share them with you. 

“As we journey with Christ along the path of His Paschal Mystery, may we be open to the fullness of its meaning in our lives. May the God of all grace guide and protect you, and may the Author of hope fill you with Easter joy and peace.”

These messages always remind me of how much we have in common with our brothers and sisters in Christ. For me, this is especially apparent during the Easter season as so many come together to celebrate the glorious resurrection of our Savior. I am grateful for these wonderful sisters who have dedicated their lives to Gospel values. I am grateful for temples and the insight, perspective, and power we can gain through spending time in the Lord’s house. And I am grateful for the prayers offered in both of those locations. Most importantly, I am grateful for our Savior and the opportunity I have to draw closer to Him through covenants.

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