Prayer and Presence and Boston

April 16, 2013
From Ray Bagnuolo’s posting at

Gay Pastor: Prayer and Presence and Boston

The first time I heard the verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:17 in which Paul says, “…pray without ceasing.” I knew that was probably a good thing to do, but I couldn’t imagine how to do it. All the time? Praying?

This morning, as we awake to the tragedy in Boston of another senseless act of violence, as we fall to our knees literally or figuratively, again, praying for those whose families and friends stumble forward without their loved ones “who only went to see the marathon!” – and those who will need to live with the scars of yesterday’s acts of hatred for the rest of their lives – we pray. And, it seems that the spreading illness of violence and horrific events that keep coming closer and closer – are bringing us to a ceaseless time of prayer, without respite, not because of our diligence but because we need to pray ceaselessly in response to the frequency with which the unimaginable continues to become real.

It is the right response. Prayer works; I don’t really know how. But it does. And, I know that to pray is also to pause, moving closer to God, consciously entering into God’s presence. That is always good to do, even better in the company of others. Prayer and remembering we are in God’s presence heals us, those we pray for, and the world at large. It is always the right thing to do.

Prayer is an action in the best and most difficult of times and all in between. It leads us to help and to extend ourselves, being there for others in whatever ways we can. It is the most powerful of all our responses that we too often come to as a last resort. It is the place to begin and from which all that needs to be done follows. It is the language of Love that strengthens and guides, as it has been from the first time the heart cried. “God help me! God help us!” It is what makes our responses and actions prayers, in themselves.

And, it is never violent in its response.

In whatever ways we come to prayer today, for the victims, their families, their friends – for us all – let us pray without ceasing by living into the presence of God and this power of prayer. And then together, let us act accordingly, so that all that follows Is prayer without ceasing.