Prayer…and Works

Yesterday was the 7th anniversary of the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. I found myself wondering a bit in the midst of the reminders and the quiet times…have things really changed that much?…and…what am I doing about helping things change positively?

It’s a conundrum at times. I wasn’t able to go to New York to help in the rescue and recovery efforts–or the rebuilding of lives. I’m not able to go to Haiti to help people dig out from the seemingly endless cycle of storms that have hit there. I’m not a certified rescue worker who can help out with disaster efforts.

So what can I do? Well, one thing I can do is to pray. Sometimes that sounds so trite…and yet, I’m reminded of a story I heard of a group of seminary students who visited a convent of perpetual adoration. (I’m not sure those are exactly the proper terms to use–but it was a convent where prayer is offered 24/7.) In the course of the dialogue between the students and the nuns, one of the students asked, “What do you do?” One of the nuns replied, “We pray.” A little puzzled, the student responded, “I know…but what work do you do?” The nun smilingly replied, “Do you not believe that prayer is work?”

If I am a person of faith, what is my response to that question? And so what do I do in times of disaster and need?

I go when I can…I support financially to the best of my ability…and then I uphold in prayer those who are doing the physical work I am unable to.

Prayer and works aren’t totally separate–at least not in my worldview. They’re both a necessary adjunct to each other.