Want Something? Just Ask: The Power of Prayer
This is a post I’ve been wanting to write for over a month, but it deals with some big concepts and I wanted to let it roll around the back of my brain until it was ready to come out. And Erev Rosh Hashana, the night beginning the Jewish New year, is the perfect time to do it.
As a teenager and young adult, I was very skeptical about God in general, and about prayer in particular. Over time, and especially the last few years, I’ve made more space for God in my life. Not the beaded and fierce old man of my childhood, but a spiritual force, a higher power. And in the last year or so, I’ve begun actively communicating with that higher power, asking for advice–usually about little things.
On July 30, I was bicycling the hilly state highway I live on, coming back from the post office in South Hadley, Massachusetts. I was just coming out of one of the downhills, going at a good clip, when I got caught in a pothole I hadn’t even seen. I remember hitting the pothole, and the next thing I can remember is lying on the ground, unable to get up, bleeding from 19 different places, and in acute pain.
Somehow, I managed to flag down the next car. The driver, and another car coming the other way (Peter Edge of South Hadley, and thank you so much), helped me to sit on the guardrail and called my wife to come get me. My wife took me to see our regular doctor, who prescribed some Percoset and a sling and told me to get seen by an orthopedist.
But I couldn’t get an appointment until the next day, and even though it was strong enough that the pharmacy had to follow narcotics procedures, the Percoset did absolutely nothing for my pain.
I spent the whole rest of the day in severe pain, barely able to move. Shortly before I went to bed, I decided to ask for help. I sent this email to several hundred people:
Dina is typing for me because I can’t. I had a bicycle accident, broke my arm, and am in severe agony. Couldn’t see the orthopedist until tomorrow afternoon. Please send healing energy to me.
My wife checked the e-mail just before she came upstairs for the night, and reported that there were over a dozen responses. Just knowing that they were there lightened my load, and I was able to get some sleep.
In all, I got and responded to 30 messages–which means, probably, somewhere between 50 and 300 people actually held me in their prayers for a moment or more. An abundance of positive energy.
And I have to tell you, it worked a heck of a lot better than Percoset!