Lawrence Auster is one of the seminal figures of latter-day Traditionalism. Many, many people have come to it, and to Christianity, as a result of his labors at View from the Right, one of the most important Traditionalist blogs. All true conservatives owe him a great debt of gratitude, including even those who feel at enmity with him; for whether or not they know it, and whether or not they have even read Lawrence’s writings, they have been influenced and informed by him, at least through those who have.
Lawrence is quite ill. For many months he has been suffering from cancer, and from related maladies brought on either by the disease itself, or by the chemo-therapy he has endured. While he has fought off the cancer for a long time, and soldiered bravely onward at VFR, his condition lately has worsened. Barring some sea change, his future here below seems at best bleak indeed.
It is time, and more than time, for all of us who owe him so much, and who hold him in such high regard, to do what we can to help him. So we of the Orthosphere have decided to organize a global vigil of massed intercessory prayer for him, using the web to propagate the effort as far and wide, and indeed as deep, as possible. Massed intercessory prayer has been the occasion of some truly remarkable events – not all of them physiological, by any means (and, for that matter, not all in the intended beneficiary of the prayer). Some background information may be found here.
If you wish to participate in the prayer, bless you; if you decide to use your own blogs, or email distribution lists, to spread the word, thanks. If you do, please ask respondents to post a notice of their intent to participate, as well as any comments or questions, at the Orthosphere. This will facilitate a coherent central conversation, give us all a sense of the size of the event as it builds momentum, answer frequently asked questions efficiently, and perhaps help us all learn more about prayer. The conversation can continue after the vigil; there is likely to be much to relate.
The vigil will happen in your time zone from 5:00 to 6:00 pm, Sunday, January 13. As evening falls, light a candle in an often used room, where those of your household will often see and take note of it. A burning flame is inherently interesting, and likely to be noticed. After you light the candle, and whenever you notice it again during the hour of the vigil, say a short prayer for Lawrence; something like this:
O LORD our Governor, whose help is in all the world, and by whom all things are made: bless now and keep thy servant Lawrence Auster, relieving him of all his troubles and travails, salving and healing all his wounds and illnesses, and restoring him to fullness of life in thee; and, at the last, call him home to everlasting joy in thy Heavenly Kingdom. All this I pray, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.
O LORD, I pray thee bless, keep and heal thy servant, Lawrence. Amen.
Or, pray wordlessly. The form of the prayer is important only because it helps form the intention thereof.
It helps, in praying, to engage one’s whole body in the effort; for the engagement of the body tends to entrain the otherwise distractible mind. Bodily involvement is facilitated by bowing the head, and, especially at the invocation of the Name, by crossing oneself.
There is of course no reason why you should confine your prayers for Lawrence to the hour of the vigil, and indeed I hope that you do not. Feel free to pray for him this very moment, and continuously! But do save some special oomph, as it were, for the massed intercession of the vigil.
Thank you; and may God bless and keep all you who read this.
I learned of massed intercessory prayer in 1998, when my thirteen year old son was struck by a catastrophic cerebral hemorrhage, and lay comatose in the ICU of our local Children’s Hospital. A neighbour of my mother in Maine lent her Healing, a book by Francis MacNutt, priest and pioneer of healing prayer in the Catholic Church, asking her to pass it on to me. She did, and I read it in the middle of the night, lying on a pallet on the floor next to my son’s bed. I recommend the book, which will deepen your faith as it explodes the limits of your understanding of what is possible to God in this profane world. MacNutt recounts many, many stories of truly amazing healing: full and instant remissions of terminal cancer, badly broken bones knit back together in minutes, and the like.
The ideal of massed intercessory prayer, as MacNutt describes it, is achieved when as many people as possible physically touch the beneficiary, and pray together for him with great intensity. This caught my imagination, but only two people were allowed in the ICU with my son at any time. So my father, himself an Anglican priest, suggested he use the massive distribution list that my wife’s email updates on my son’s condition had accumulated to organize a globally distributed hour of intercessory prayer. Because the vigil took several weeks to organize, by the time it took place my son had awakened, and had been moved to a private room; he had not yet moved or spoken at all, and we had been gently led to expect that he never would.
I spent the day of the vigil with my son. We weren’t allowed to have a candle at the hospital, but we spent the hour of vigil for California praying and reading from the Psalter. I had disciplined myself to expect that nothing remarkable would happen, and so I was not too disappointed when nothing did. Later that night, as the prayer vigil was ending far to the West in Hawaii, my son was being examined by a team of doctors, a daily ritual. One of them scraped a pen up the bottom of his paralyzed foot, a standard test that had been performed without result a hundred times since his admission. Jeremy said, “Ow! That really hurts!” Then he froze; so did all the doctors; so did I. The air in the room, I noticed, was somehow thick, or perhaps full, or perhaps again crowded. It had been chilly, but now was suddenly warm, without however being at all stuffy or close; indeed, it felt alive, like the air above a flowing river. And the floor, I noticed, seemed subtly tilted, as if a more fundamental gravitational field had revealed itself without however actually moving anything.
The stunned hush lasted for about fifteen seconds. Then normality snapped back into place from that liminal realm, and the doctors began talking excitedly; with the difference that in that renewed normality, my son could talk, could join again in their conversation.
This was not supposed to have happened, ever. My son had not been expected to speak again, ever; he had not made even a sound since the afternoon of the bleed. But now he was speaking in whole sentences, haltingly at first, but soon quite smoothly. He spoke to his mother and grandfather on the phone. His speech therapist came running in, tears streaming down her face, and they spoke together, holding hands. Nurses, doctors, therapists, custodians and guards flocked to his room from all parts of the hospital, grinning with elation, to see for themselves what had happened. The whole building, so doleful, so full of suffering infants, and of sorrowful adults, took on an air of happy celebration, as if a party had been declared in honor of a victory.
We kept on. Two weeks later there was another vigil. Again I was with my son. As the vigil ended far away over the Pacific, I had transferred him to a wheelchair so I could make his bed for the night. “Hey, Dad; look!” I turned: he was standing.
Amazing things can happen with prayer. With God, all things are possible. I have some fancy-shmancy philosophical theories about prayer that make it seem all reasonable and tidy, and intelligible (to me, anyway). But really, it’s not. Not that my theories are just wrong, but that while reality is surely intelligible, and orderly, it is also fundamentally wild, and far transcends our inward vision, no matter how far or well we see.
When we pray for Lawrence, we must school ourselves to the expectation that the answer, howsoever positive and agreeable under the aspect of Heaven, may not appear that way here below, either to us or to Lawrence. We must accept that under God’s purveyance, it is right and just that Lawrence, or we, should suffer for a time here below, and half a time, that God might work out his purpose in justice for all creation. We must accept that the blessing God allows to Lawrence may be a form of martyrdom, and that sooner rather than later. We must remember that all things are remembered in the Book of Life, and that at the end a meet compensation for all our injuries will be meted out to us, so that all is made whole and right.
So, we must pray that the cup of suffering might pass from Lawrence’s lips; but yet, that not our will, but God’s be done.