by Ruth DuCharme

When I was a child, my family would make an annual vacation trip to a Florida beach.  This meant loading the station wagon with five kids, two parents, a dozen or so suitcases, and a few bags filled with games and toys to keep us occupied on our journey.  When the distance covers many miles, the journey can sometimes get boring.  The need to make the trip meaningful became a necessity - not to mention the need to keep my parents sane while driving with a car full of children anxious to arrive at their destination!


It's mid-March and we find ourselves on our annual journey through Lent.  While we traverse this road, there is a need to make the journey meaningful as we anticipate our arrival at Easter Sunday.  Many of us have chosen to occupy ourselves through the practice of giving up a habit or instituting a discipline into our lives.  This year I chose the later.  While I think it is probably better to keep our Lenten choices private, I have chosen to share with you the way that I have decided to occupy myself and to find meaning on my journey through this season. 


As I spend time reading and praying each day during this season, I have taken my list of children and their families and each day I pray for one family.  I pray for their health and wellbeing.  I pray for their spiritual growth.  I pray that they will find meaning and fellowship as they invest their lives in our church.  My prayers have helped me feel closer to the children in my care and have helped me to renew my purpose of ministering to them and to their families.  Prayer does that for us.  It strengthens our sense of community and helps us focus on the needs of our brothers and sisters.


So I lay a challenge before you.  What would happen if we prayed for each other on a daily basis?  I challenge you to pray for those with whom you share a small group experience. Maybe it will be your fellow Sunday School classmates, or your fellow choir members, or your committee members. Maybe you will choose to pray for our shut-ins or our college students.  Maybe you will pray for the members of our Pastor Search Committee.


Prayer can carry us a long way on our journey through Lent.  It can occupy our thoughts and our hearts as we travel together.  It can renew us and draw us closer together. In this time that we call "interim," prayer can be a means of preparing us for the next leg of our journey.  Will you join me in this challenge?  Will you commit yourself to praying for each other and discovering what God will do through our prayers?  Who knows, we might find our journey has taken us to places that we could never have imagined!