Not everyone interested in spirituality is drawn to church. I, however, am an avid churchgoer. In fact, what keeps me coming back is a little rule in our church about prayer. Prayers in Christian Science churches are to be "offered for the congregations collectively and exclusively." (Church Manual 42:1)
Now one might say, wait a minute! Why a rule instructing who or what to pray for in church? Why wouldn't you pray for yourself, your sick pet, or for harmonious elections in the Congo? The answer relates to what we are up to the rest of the week.
Moses directed the army from a high hill. Exodus explains, "As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset." This was how the battle was fought and won. (see Exodus 17:10-13)
The way I see it, the daily work of helping others, praying for ourselves and the world, can require extraordinary stamina and focus. Church services that compel us to pray for, and to be supported by, the congregants, give us the Aaron-and-Hur advantage during the week. It lets each one go out with arms lifted, hearts eager and thoughts energized to get the job done during the rest of the week.
Church is designed to heal. It is also designed to support the healer. Next time you find yourself in church, think about pulling up a rock for the rest of the congregants. Offer prayers that praise the goodness and power of the Creator and witness to the spiritual authority with which man is endowed, to be a strong, productive, healing influence in the world. Draw strength from knowing that the prayers of that congregation are lifting up your arms and leaving you fit and ready to handle and defeat anything that would get in the way of the healing influence you express in the world.
Pray for the congregation in church like the world depends on it. Because it does. Let's hear it for the home team!
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