A Prayer of Community

com·mu·ni·ty
 “people (or other beings) living in a particular area or who are considered a unit due to their common interests or other common or unifying qualities”

Ecclesiastes 4:9

9 Two are better than one,

    because they have a good return for their labor:

“We have all known the long loneliness, and we have found that the answer is community.”
— Dorothy Day

God has designed us to be in community with him and with others, knowing that two really are better than one. Too often, we labor alone for a return that seems like it will never come. We may pour into a project at home or at work that yields dismal results because there is simply more to the project than we can fully accomplish by ourselves. But as with anything that is good, it takes a number of elements to yield a successful result.

There is truth in this equation: Community = relationships + time + mission + ordeal

I heard a story about a mom who was teaching her son how to bake. Baking takes time, but this young man was in a hurry. On his first try at making cupcakes, he threw all the ingredients into a bowl and quickly stirred them together, leaving chunks of unmixed ingredients. He took the cupcakes out of the oven too soon. The result was inconsistent cupcakes: some too sweet, some too salty, some that were dry and powdery, and some that were so moist they were dripping; basically, they were not edible. You see, he didn’t take the time necessary to get all the flavors mixed in together, nor did he allow enough heat to cook them properly.

Like baking, forming community takes time, the heat of an ordeal, and a common mission. Some of our relationships are too sweet (no truth), too salty (no grace), too dry and powdery (they just seem to blow away), or too moist to hold onto (you can’t count on them). When that happens, remember that two are still better than one, and that more time, heat, and a common challenge to overcome may be the missing ingredients.

Pray

  1. Meditate on the words “two are better than one,” replacing the word “two” with your name and someone in your community, saying “ _______________ and I are better together.” As you continue to meditate, switch out the names of others in your community, praying for those individuals as you go. 

  2. Pray that God would bring you into community with a small group of friends, or if you are already in a small group, that God would reveal someone in your life who may need an invitation into your existing group. Which ingredient (time, mission or ordeal) would be most necessary to make your group a more healthy community for each other and for someone new? Ask God to help you add that missing ingredient.

  3. Thank God for those in our church community who help make you a better version of you.