Whenever I attend or teach at the Catholic Writers Conference Online, I sign into the chat room during early mornings for the virtual prayer group. We type the sign of the cross (+) and then the prayer leader posts a prayer, and when we’re done with it, we post (Amen.) After that, we name our prayer intentions. And it works well…except for when it doesn’t.
The first time I did this, I admit I was surprised and bemused, but later I realized that of course if God is omnipresent and all Christians are part of the mystical body of Christ, then there’s no reason to limit ourselves to being in the same room in order to pray as a group. We’re harnessing the power of a chat room, but in a virtual way two or three are gathered, and if God isn’t amused, at the very least I can’t imagine He’s offended.
At any rate, one day it struck me about the sheer number of intentions: people in need of jobs, people in need of health, folks dealing with difficult individuals… More general ones, like those in danger of death today. For a moment, I felt inundated by all these personal universes bumping into one another. As the quote goes (rough paraphrase,) Everyone around you is fighting a great battle.
I didn’t blink. I’m a writer: I’m used to mentally editing everything I read, and there’s nothing spectacular about a typo. But then I realized: She just had us all pray for world peach. And while we all understand what she meant to pray for, technically speaking, we’d just prayed for fruit.
Peaches, for the whole world. Or maybe just one big, world-nurturing peach.
I’ve asked before if God will retroactively reassign the pointers if we’ve accidentally prayed for the wrong thing, like when I prayed for Family 5J during the food basket drive, only the family I’d been assigned to was actually Family 5K. Which family got the blessings? The parish priest (poor beleaguered man) gave a weak smile when I asked. But God’s big and God’s smart, so maybe God blessed both of them.
This time I’m not so blasé. We gathered in the name of Jesus and prayed for World Peach. I’m not sure what’s going to happen next.