Uniting in prayer in Newtown

It was a simple, yet deeply powerful prayer meeting in Newtown, Connecticut, on Saturday night. The minister greeted us with such genuine warmth and Christly love that I immediately felt at home. We sang hymns and listened intently to the wonderfully familiar 23rd and 139th Psalms read aloud. We prayed together silently. We shared from the heart our struggles, our inspiration, and our hopes for the future for all touched by the unspeakable tragedy that had taken place the day before.

To outward appearances, we were a diverse group. Different religious backgrounds, ethnic groups, ages, and hometowns. Yet there was something very powerful and even strengthening; a common thread binding us together. The minister told how he had prayed that those whom God intended to be there in that church that night would be there. Sitting in my pew, I felt the results of that prayer. Each one of us in that Newtown church that night—a little more than 24 hours after the school shooting—was impelled to be there, to be present, to be together with others in this community at this time. 

For many years I lived in the town next to Newtown, and often spent time there. I have always been fond of that lovely community and today live just a short distance away. Having spent Saturday afternoon (the day after the incident) walking around Newtown talking with folks, my heart yearned even more to be with others in that community and to experience together the tangible, healing love of God that I knew could and would uplift, comfort, and strengthen us.

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