Prayer, Christian Community, and the Presence of God

by: Norm Wetterau , M.D. - FMHF President

Recently my wife had two aneurysms clipped. The fact that they were discovered without having them rupture was a miracle in itself. Her recuperation has not been rapid but I am learning a lot through this. I know that many of you have had similar experiences. So many people said they would pray. They prayed that the operation would be a success and prayed for her recovery. I was frightened and praying that Christ would be present with Nancy in the operating room and with both of us in her rehab and recovery process.

As her recovery became longer, people continued to pray. The number praying was large: our family, church, friends, and even prisoners in the Maximum Security Prison, Attica. She had spoken at a retreat there and shared about her coming surgery. In all of this I realized that God does not answer these prayers just through her healing but that in a sense God showed His presence through these people’s prayers . God is present through our Christian friends and community .

So many people in our church, friends and family are praying. Community is very important and a manifestation of Christ in the world. That community included guys in prison, Nancy was in an Attica prison retreat a month ago. Attica is a famous maximum security prison and many men spend the rest of their lives there and die there, but for some Jesus walks with them. At a retreat there she gave a talk : “Confidence in Christ.” In this she talks a lot about her illness and ends up: I have been amazed at the PEACE I have felt for the last 15 months. I know many people have been PRAYING for me and God is right beside me.

The prisoners prayed for her and promised to pray for the surgery. So I sat next to her in the hospital knowing that church friends, other friends and family are praying but also prisoners in this notorious maximum security prison. God is here because of these prayers but He is also here because he is where one prays prayer makes one aware He is here. What I have discovered is that God is also present in a praying Christian community. Many times Jesus shows himself in other people and here is an example: Regardless of what happens God is here and also his Body, the praying community of faith which is the church and includes those in Attica which are also part of that community. God shows himself through others I knew that and knew that in some cases God has shown himself through me, but this is even better, seeing God respond to our needs through others. Community is something that God can create if we let Him.