Pray Without Ceasing

I had a heavy day.  A transgender student told me he was getting texts from an unknown source telling him that he was a freak.  Another student showed me a mark that her dad left on her arm when he was trying to explain to her the importance of her math grade by tossing her around a bit.  I did not know what to do about either instance.  I felt totally hopeless.

Then a student caught me not praying.  I used to pray without ceasing, seriously.  Now, I think of my life as a prayer.  How I choose to live each moment is an answer to God’s gift of life.  But I do not plug in consciously as much as I used to and really listen.  Until today.  When I asked a student I had last year how she was doing, she said, “Actually, I am really glad I ran into you.  Could you pray for my cousin?”  Tears welled up immediately, which threw me since she is a tough, stoic hockey player not keen on public displays of vulnerability and emotion.  Her cousin, a high school junior, was just diagnosed with stage three cancer.  She was sad and scared.  When I hugged her, she clung.  But then I looked at her and answered, “Yes.  I can pray for her.  I will pray without ceasing.  Keep me updated.”  It is a mystery, prayer.  But somehow there is power in it, and somehow my heart is changed when a student trusts me to pray for her about something so vulnerable and petrifying.  I cannot make it better, but I can pray.  And pray I will.