Rev. Neil Dunnavant

Rev. Neil Dunnavant,
executive pastor

Several times a week I am asked to pray for people, and several times a week I let people know I am praying for them.  But what am I actually doing?  What is happening?

First let me suggest what I don’t think is happening.  I am not trying to get the attention of an indifferent aloof very busy Deity.  I am not in any way pleading with God as if to say,  “Look Lord,  I know you can help this person. Please please please do something!  And by the way, I am one of your pastors, so please give me priority. Please bring my request to the front of your very long line!”

Over the years I have come to understand prayer as a mysterious form of healing connectivity. There is no doubt a way for humans and all God’s creatures and living things to connect, support, heal, and comfort. When I pray, I am bringing the needs of the person or situation intensely into my mind and releasing those needs into the mysterious current of healing power. Sometimes to help me visualize I think of God’s healing power (the Power and Presence of the Holy Spirit) as wind or light or water. Sometimes I visualize Jesus kneeling in front of the person and putting his hands on her head.

Prayer is a little like eating healthy food or exercise.  It is a form of healing and help and health that God has given us just as God has given us amazing plants to eat or clean air and water and many other things such as love and friendship and the comforts that come from pets.

When I am in prayer for someone, I am also committing to be deeply concerned with a person’s issues.  When I say I am praying for you,  I am also saying I am very concerned for you and connected to you and want to be involved in the healing process.

Finally,  to pray is to believe. To make an affirmation of faith. I am affirming my belief that all through life there is a great force of healing power that of course we don’t fully understand. Prayer is a way to tap into that power and connect that power to people and communities who need it.  Of course not everyone gets healed.  Prayer can’t be understood as either working or not working. The healing power is still there all the same and the connectivity of prayer still helps a great deal even when healing does not take place. Maybe one day we will understand more clearly how to more effectively tap into the power. I am searching for insights. What could possibly be more important?