AdventWord 2019: 17. Pray

December 17, 2019
Advent Reflections

“Lord, teach us to pray…” Luke 11:1

I was at a conference recently in Brazil and soon after arriving, Luz Maria, a friend from Colombia, approached me with a request for prayer for her presentation at this conference as she was anxious about it. A mutual friend, Ema Rosero-Nordalm from Boston, had suggested that she invite me to join her in prayer. For a moment, I thought of Ema and marveled at how interconnected our ministry is. Luz Maria told me that her presentation would be at 4:00 PM a few days later and I told her that I would pray for her in advance and during her presentation.

Over the next few days, I prayed for Luz Maria and every time I would see her, I would assure her that she would do it well and that I would be there to cheer her on.

On the day of Luz Maria’s presentation, we had an afternoon break, so I went to my room to rest because my back was hurting. I stretched out on the bed for a few minutes and fell asleep. When I awoke it was 3:58 pm and her presentation was in 2 minutes! I thought – I’m going to miss Luz Maria’s presentation. And I began to pray as I ran out of my room. I prayed for so many things and I prayed without ceasing during the 10 minutes or so that it took me to get to the conference room. “Please Lord – let them start late! Please be with Luz Maria and give her the confidence she needs at this moment. Please don’t let the elevator take forever.” (It did.) “Please let me arrive in time to hear her. I’m not going to make it in time. Jesus, help me come up with a really good excuse as to why I didn’t make it. A really good LIE! Please don’t let Luz Maria hate me for not being there for her.”

As I entered the conference room, I was made aware that Luz Maria had just finished her presentation. I prayed again – “Oh God, give me the courage to face Luz Maria”. For the next hour or so, I half-listened to the other presenters as I kept praying – “Please Lord, let me find someone who recorded her so I can at least listen to it later.” (Someone did.)

At the end of the presentations, I stood by the door waiting for Luz Maria. As she approached, I blurted out – “I missed your presentation.” She laughed, her eyes twinkled, she smiled and said, “I know. I kept looking for you, but I didn’t see you anywhere in the room. But I knew that you were praying for me.” She gave me a big hug. I explained what had happened. She laughed with me and assured me that all was well and that she felt that her presentation had come off well. As she walked away, I prayed again, but this time it was – “Thank you God that Luz Maria was so understanding. Thank you for giving me the strength and courage to just be honest with her. But, Lord, please don’t have people come to me for prayer – it’s just too much of a burden. Just kidding, God. Thanks for being patient with me.”

This experience helped me to remember how powerful prayer is in connecting us with God and one another.

I am so thankful that as Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries, I have been given the opportunity to know and connect with so many people across the church. I am aware of how interconnected we are and how prayer connects us to one another. Everywhere I go, people tell me that they pray for me and my ministry or they ask me for prayer. I am truly grateful that in our absence from one another – prayer that holds us together.