As a preacher’s kid who is married to minister, I’m no stranger to prayer.
In Boise, during my wife’s internship year (1996-97), I was a member of a prayer chain. We called each other when a concern was on someone’s heart — and took it to the Lord in prayer.
A year later, when my own mom was stricken with a life-threatening auto-immune disease, I prayed practically without ceasing for her recovery. And I put the word out for more prayers wherever I could.
To me, the power of prayer is palpable. As C.S. Lewis, as played by Anthony Hopkins, said in the film Shadowlands, even if prayer doesn’t change the immediate outcome, it changes the one who offers the prayer, deepening his or her heart.
When my wife and I attended the U2 360 concert last month at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Michigan, I wasn’t really expecting to pray. Yes, I’d gone to see the film U2 3D, and so had an inkling of how religious, or quasi-religious, a U2 concert can be.
But still, Bono’s passionate prayer for the release of political prisoners in Burma took me by surprise. It was one of the most fervent petitions I’ve ever heard offered, in any circumstances. Though it wasn't overtly offered to the Judeo-Christian God, it was nonetheless a prayer.
It’s true that Jesus said, at one point in the Gospels, that when you pray you should go to your own room and shut the door. Yet I feel sure Jesus would make an exception for this prayer offered by a crowd of 60,000 people in a football stadium on a beautiful summer night.
I will write about Amnesty International's efforts on behalf of Burmese political prisoners in an upcoming post..