Drive By Prayer

prayer in community

The end of last summer for us was marked by a miscarriage and topped off with sick kids, so feelings of weakness and despair were frequent. A friend had invited me to a get together at her house with snacks and prayer—children welcome—but I lamented to her over the phone that I didn’t feel comfortable bringing my phlegmy offspring around anyone else’s.

“Do a drive by,” she said. “Your kids can stay in the car and we’ll pray with you outside.”

Drive By Prayer

So I sat in my car one August morning with sniffling, coughing little ones strapped in their car seats behind me. I’d arrived a little early, so we waited in the stillness of her neighborhood as the trees surrounding us silently surrendered to the approaching season change.

Then, the sound of car engines crept into the quiet. I looked up to see my friends’ cars processing down the street toward us, one after another. They were coming from daily Mass in their minivans and SUVs. One by one, they passed by me like tanks proceeding into battle. These women were older than me, with more children and more years of experience navigating the trenches and scaling the illustrious mountains of motherhood, all with Christ as their gentle but fierce Commander-in-Chief.

Watching them exit their vehicles gave me goose bumps. I felt like I was witnessing warriors dismount their mighty steeds. They eagerly motioned for me to join them on the driveway. As I approached, I felt truly honored to have these fighters in my corner. They embraced me, and immediately, my friend opened her Bible and filled my wounded, worn-out heart with the exquisite peace that only the Spirit can give.

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Here We Stand Amid the Battle

As a Christian, I’m aware of the war taking place around me. I’m aware that we battle not against flesh and blood, and so we wield neither firearms nor blades. St. Paul notes that our fight is against principalities and rulers of the darkness, and they’re seeking to sap our strength and gladness and guide us into a pit of despair.

We are lured to this pit in all sorts of ways, sometimes through faults of our own, such as pride or too much time comparing ourselves on social media. But often, it is simply the natural occurrences of this life that leave us weary, overwhelmed, and easily led to this pit of hopelessness.

It’s at the edge of that abysmal pit where I sat dipping my toes into the darkness that day. Weakness and hopelessness were winning, that is until my fellow warriors approached.

We Do Not Fight Alone

More seasoned in the battle than I, they knew what I needed and how to provide it when I felt little more than loss. They arrived at my side, not with questions of how they could help, but armed with the fierceness of fellow soldiers certain of how to assist me, certain of victory.

I hope one day I can be that courageous companion to a dejected friend. Not for the sake of valiantly arriving in my minivan, but to provide the soul nourishment and reassurance that we are called to offer one another throughout this journey.

We are all weak at times, and it is then that the strength of Christ is able to shine most brilliantly through others.

Unveil the Frailty

It’s tempting to conceal our distress, our weakness. We often make jokes about the trials of parenthood and marriage. But it’s rare to vulnerably admit to a friend, a family member, or a spouse in all seriousness that we are teetering on the edge of despair. Or even flat-out swimming in it.

It’s okay to be weak. It’s okay to be human, especially amidst difficult circumstances such as the devastation of a miscarriage. I was thankful that I’d revealed to my friend what I was going through so that she could act and encourage me to find a way to be present for their prayers.

I’m not advocating for victimizing ourselves. I think we should carefully consider to whom we expose our hurts and only do so for the sake of receiving support, not attention. But this battle is not one to be fought alone.

If we’re going to walk in peace despite the pandemonium that comes with marriage, motherhood, and life in general, we must surround ourselves with others who will nourish our spirits with their faith. And also some laughter and wine.

Not Alone

Despair is one thing, but despair without friends to confide in is tough stuff. I once went through a rough bout of postpartum depression while living in a brand new city. Every day that my husband left for work, the loneliness was palpable. And so I prayed not just for companions, but for soul sisters to rely upon. You know what? God totally knocked it out of the park. My social circle now is even richer in love and virtue than the one I had before the move.

Don’t shy away from asking God to send you friends, or from reaching out to someone who may be in need of one. Companionship is one of the Lord’s specialties, among many others, and He longs to fill our deep-seated need for it.

Say a prayer today for women experiencing loneliness and despair, that they will make soul-nourishing connections with those who can lift their spirits.

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Liz Pardi is a New York born, Virginia raised, Ohio dwelling freelancer. She spends her days, learning, laughing and running her way through this journey with her superstar spouse and their charming little ones. Although it’s rare for her to stay awake through an entire movie, she uses significant scenes from film to relay insights on faith, marriage and parenthood on her blog. You can find out more about her here.

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