The Union of Prayer


"We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you" - Colossians 1:3

In 1994, Jean Bosco Gakirage was being ordained as a Rwandan priest when he received the terrible news that everyone he knew was murdered. Quickly returning to his small village of Musha, he found that only seven children remained alive. With the bodies of his parents and friends still inside the church, Jean told the children, "We are the Resurrection." But he felt that he died that day.

A continent away, Marie Michelle saw a picture of the Jean in a mission magazine. Marie is a nun, living in seclusion and near-silence in a Missouri convent. Her heart went out to the newly ordained priest who lost his parents and six siblings to genocide. She asked for permission to write Jean a letter.

When the letter arrived, Jean could hardly believe it was for him. He opened the envelope and read these words: I will pray for you every day. From now on you can think of me as your sister, and I will call you not "Father Jean" but "my brother."

Jean responded to the letter with thanks and a promise to pray for Marie as well. He also included words from Psalm 141, "The evildoers appall me, but my eyes are fixed on thee, O Lord God; thou art my refuge."

The daily prayers continued for ten years. Jean corresponded regularly. Marie was limited to two letters per year, but other nuns in the order wrote seasonally.

Then, on July 8, 2004, Jean was given the opportunity to visit the convent. The nuns usually communicate with outsiders only through notes, but on this day Jean would be able to speak to Marie through a metal grate. After the midday prayers and services were over, the curtain over the grate parted. Standing with her nine Passionist sisters, Marie peered through the bars at Jean. "My brother," she said. "I thought I'd have to wait for heaven to see him."

After what will likely be their only meeting in this life, both agreed on their greatest connection. Marie said, "The union in prayer is the deepest thing, better than letters and pictures."

Are you praying for others and are others praying for you? Today in prayer, thank the Lord for the union of prayer that we may have with Him and with other believers.

"Intercessory prayer might be defined as loving our neighbor on our knees." - Charles Brent

God's Word: "First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world." - Romans 1:8

By Peter Kennedy, Copyright 2005, Devotional E-Mail DEVOTIONS IN COLOSSIANS pkennedy6@yahoo.com

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