The power of prayer cannot be underestimated.
Often we think of prayer as an individual activity. But for Orthodox
Christians, there is an emphasis on prayer of the whole community. Birthday
parties as I was growing up were my favourite. It was a time where everyone
came together and enjoyed each other’s company. My cousins and I would always
play tag and work up a real sweat. Aside from the games, pizza and cake there
was one thing that we would especially look forward to. At the end of each
party, we would always be given a helium balloon from what were used as
decorations. Initially, we used to just throw them up into the sky and that
would be the extent of it. However, one day lead the path into a favourite
family tradition. Each of us would have our own balloon, and we would come
together to write prayers and messages to God on it.  We would write anything that first came to
mind – even if it was just a ‘thank you.’ I recall one time, every balloon of
ours popped except for one. In this, we all had to agree upon what was going to
be sent up to God. We decided to ask for a big jumping castle, rainbow beach
balls, lots and lots of candy and an endless amount of colourful toys. Before releasing
it into the sky, we each grabbed a piece of the ribbon tied on to the balloon
and counted down from three. Three… two…one, we let our prayers go and watched
it float into heaven for God to read. In the past, after sending all of our
balloons nothing would really happen. However, this time it was different.  My sisters and I slept over at my cousin’s
house that night, and woke up to such a pleasant surprise. Upon looking through
the window, all we could see was this huge jumping castle, filled with these
great beach balls, amongst plenty of mouth-watering candies and nifty toys. We
were all amazed. This was the first time that our prayers were “visually”
answered. I believe that this prayer was heard because of the power of prayer
from not an individual, but a collection of individuals. Prayer strengthens in
numbers. As members of the Christian Orthodox religion, I believe that it is
important to advocate family praying, prayer amongst a community as a whole, or
just praying together with a friend. After seeing our wishes come true, my
cousins and I have never underestimated the power of prayer again.


Written By: Toni Kritikos


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