A couple of years ago, I was struck over the head with a thought that wouldn’t go away: I’m supposed to pray for other people.

It felt so…well, so inconsequential. I want to be a Woman of Action, a Person Who Brings Good Change, a Warrior and Adventurer.

And praying? Just praying? Really, God?

So I did it, but I sort of held out for the Big Gig, the one where I would need a glowing sword and a pithy speech.

(I should know by now that there usually aren’t fireworks in my faith life, but I keep hoping. And I’m a slow learner.)

Now, many years later, I am pretty comfortable with this role of praying for others.

And I’ve noticed something…whether or not it’s helping other people, this praying for others has (and continues to) change me.

Has it made me more patient? Am I more willing to look into the crevices of life’s subtleties and see meaning there? Do I recognize God at work more than I did before?

Is it that I get beyond myself and my desires? Could it be the intertwining that happens when I take others’ concerns and needs to God? Might it be a letting go that I can’t help but do?

I’m not sure I can recognize the changes fully, but I know, even when I look back at the archives for this blog, that they exist.

The other day, my seven-year-old, who’s turning into quite a little reader, looked over my shoulder and started reading out names. “What are you doing, Mom?”

“I’m praying.”

“Why?” and then, before I could answer, “Do you pray for me?”

Yes, I do, and I told her so. I was praying for her long before I was scared we’d lose her, and I continue. Some of the names on my list represent wounds in my heart, while others are hopes and dreams wrapped up in another’s name.

That list is intimate, I realized, as I felt her gaze and her curiosity. And maybe that is what leads to the change: when you pray for someone else, you can’t help but let go of some of the worst parts of yourself.

And maybe that change is what the world needs.

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