Like most Christians, I pray constantly. My day consists of little chats with God. Thank you for this, help me with that, take care of this person, intervene in that situation. Constant dialog. Then there are times I sit and pray with concentration, praising God ,or asking for wisdom or, giving Him my requests.
When I've been home for a period and had time to reconnect with my family and those people in my life who know me inside and out, my life begins to once again get tangled up with theirs. I know their needs and struggles. I know what they have triumphed in and where their joy is spilling over. It would be so easy to stay and not leave because I stepped back into that life giving community. I care so much for them and long to be there to celebrate life together.
When I am home and it comes to prayer, I pray, but I'm also there with the other person. I might take them a meal, or listen or just sit. I may be doing nothing at all, but to me it feels like I am doing something. When I arrive in a new country, I have this period of time where the lives my friends are living are on my heart and mind all the time and I can't do anything physical to help them. What I can do is pray. I go through these periods where I find myself sharing the burdens I see to God all day long.
This all seemed so very real to me this morning. A very close friend from home was due to have her baby at any moment. Well overdue with contractions increasing before I went to bed last night, I knew there was a good chance that I would wake up to news of a new little life in this world. At five this morning I woke up. There was a text from my son, so I was digging for some information for him. At 5:03 the Doc got a text from our friends. Emergency c-section, baby in NICU. What? I wanted to run to the hospital and be there for her. I wanted to hold her hand and pray with her. But I couldn't. I'm 12 time zones away. And I felt so helpless. So I began to pray.
Being so far away stops me from being busy with a situation and instead, take it to God. There certainly are times we need to serve other people or do something to assist in a situation. But most of the time, those actions just take time away from what we should be really doing--praying.