I’ve written a good bit about prayer since the Pandemic hit the U.S. I know people are trying to process where God is in all of this and prayer is their go-to spiritual discipline when they begin to question life.
But one thing that has been missing for many believers is the prayers said by the congregation while they are gathered together. There is a phenomenon that happens when a group of people pray together. Their breathing starts to synchronize and their heart beat slows down a bit. Blood pressure drops a bit as well. When two or more are gathered together and they start breathing together, they share in the breath of God that was present at Creation. The “ru’ach” of God that unites us with God also unites us with all of creation. This is what transforms us and transforms the world.
That’s a lot going on. That’s a lot that we are missing. I’m not sure that the same thing happens with online worship. My guess is that families that gather to worship during online worship have these benefits. They probably have grown closer as a family due to this intimacy with God and one another.
We probably have a connection between those individuals who worship online and the person “virtually” leading prayer as well. Although they aren’t present in real time together, there is a connection. We have empathetic responses to events that happen in movies. If you’ve ever cried watching a movie, that is a result of the emotional part of your brain empathizing with what you see. My guess is that the same thing happens during online prayers but it isn’t a substitute for the real thing. When someone dies in a movie, I might cry but if someone dies in real life, I mourn. If someone prays during online worship, I connect with God but if someone prays physically in front of me, I am transformed.
This is what we are missing. Find a prayer partner. Pray together. Be transformed.
P.S. - You and your prayer partner (unless they live in your home) should meet outside. Six feet apart. With a mask. It’s safer that way.