The Value of a Prayer Community

My friend Lindsay should have died.
A few months ago she was involved in an accident that doctors said should have taken her life. The details are still a little sketchy, but she sustained injuries that will take years to heal.

Let me setup a back story for you. For 22 years I have spent a lot of time going to summer camp, either as a camper or on staff. Over the years I’ve been privileged to gain some friends that will last a lifetime. At the same time there have been a lot of people who have come and gone through that place. For five weeks of the summer Community of Christ summer camps are held. The grounds in Jackson, Ohio are called “Camp Bountiful”. Campers attend starting in second grade through their senior year in high school. It’s easy for us to form a community in this environment. This community of people becomes our own family of sorts. It’s easy for us to stay connected to each others lives through technology like Facebook and Twitter.

Lindsay was the type of camper who attended for years. The majority of the people there knew here and became friends with her. Lindsay graduated from high school earlier this year, and she attended her final Sr. High Camp in June. When people like Lindsay graduate it’s uncertain if they will continue to be part of the camping community.

When the news of Lindsay’s accident started to spread initial reports were not positive, and her injuries were life-treatening. Lindsay lived close to Wheeling, West Virginia, so the camp people that lived closest rushed to the hospital upon hearing the news. Those at the hospital would report on her condition to the rest of us over Facebook. There was more questions, than there were answers. At first Lindsay was in a coma and was unresponsive. She remained in that sate for several days. Everyone was concerned about  her welfare and was unsure what to do about the situation.

So, a few of us took it upon ourselves to organize a conference call. We would get together as a community to talk about her and say some prayers on her behalf. At first it was a bit complicated because we did it through three-way-calling. Those first couple of calls were a powerful experience for all involved. When the call was over, I do not think there was a dry-eye on the line. Many prayers were said on  Lindsay’s behalf, and many positive vibes were sent her way. We did the calls for about two weeks, holding them when the news of Lindsay was not great.

After a week or two the doctors informed her family that she would like not be the same person they knew before the accident. They recommended she be transferred to a long term care facility. Shortly before she was transported she awoke from her coma and was able to talk and interact with those around her. It was hard to believe! But, it was what our camp community prayed for.

Every four months we have a Sr. High and Jr. High Retreat at Camp Bountiful. We get together for a weekend to remind ourselves of the camping experience. Fall retreats were held at the beginning of November. One class was taught on the power of prayer. One main talking point of the class was the conference calls. It was expressed that through our prayers we helped to save Lindsay’s life. There was no doubt in the presenter’s mind that with out our efforts she would be dead.

We decided to hold conference calls monthly. We make a notion to not set an agenda for the call. This is simply a time in which we can reconnect as a community and tell others of the good, bad and ugly things going on in our lives. Dr. Scott Peck has said, “There can be no vulnerability without risk; there can be no community without vulnerability; there can be no peace, and ultimately no life, without community.” Believe what you may about the power of prayer, but to me this is one example of many that has reaffirmed my belief in the power and awesomeness of community.

For those of you who made it to the bottom of this post: Lindsay has a long road ahead of her, but she is doing fine. Since the accident she has gotten engaged.

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