How Can I Pray For You?

Have you heard about “Ashes To Go”? On Ash Wednesday, some churches took the ashes to the streets, offering ashes to people outside subway stations, Starbucks, and other busy public places. Personally, I would miss the Ash Wednesday liturgy that I love so much, but I can see how someone who doesn’t attend church regularly, whose schedule conflicts with church service times, or who is just not the church-going type could appreciate this option for observing Ash Wednesday. 

I was really moved by Rev. Abbot’s story about his “drive-thru ashes” experience, which he wrote about on his blog. While the focus of his post is about how many blessings he received while giving out ashes, I was struck by the simple question he asked people who came through the ashes-to-go drive-thru line, and by the heart-felt answers that they gave:

How can I pray for you?

It is such a simple question, but it shows a level of concern and compassion that we often don’t take the time to express to each other. Sure, we might ask a friend “How are you doing?” but are we really ready to listen if the answer isn’t “fine”?friendsA few days ago I finally got in touch with a friend whom I kept meaning to call, but only thought of calling at inappropriate times–early mornings, late at night, while I was out for a run, etc. As it turns out, her answer wasn’t “fine,” and I am so glad that I had–and took–the time to hear her out.

How are you doing?

How can I pray for you?

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