Why is prayer important?

Kristin Haag Mathews was introduced to faith and prayer as a child. As an adult facing some of life's greatest challenges, she turned back to prayer for strength and guidance. In doing so, Haag Mathews said she found peace and a desire to share it.

As leader of the Caring Team ministry at Hinsdale Covenant Church, Haag Mathews introduces others to the power of prayer, helps people in their quest to strengthen their faith and leans on her own faith to support others through life's most troubling times.

"I've always been drawn to having a relationship with God and growing that relationship," Haag Mathews said.

That relationship grew stronger in the time surrounding the death of her husband in 2014. Haag Mathews said God didn't make her husband well again, as she had so fervently requested, but He answered her prayers in other ways.

"God put people in my life that really helped me and counseled me through that," she said.

She said her faith provided comfort, both during her husband's illness and after his passing.

"God spoke to me and told me that my husband would not be relieved of the suffering and illness here on earth but that it would happen when he got to heaven," said Haag Mathews, who said she and her son are now at peace knowing that their loved one is with God.

Several years after her husband's death and shortly after her retirement, Haag Mathews felt the need to share faith and prayer with others.

"I felt I would have the ability to draw on my life experience and challenges to help other people," Haag Mathews said.

She completed training through Stephen Ministries, a national organization that trains lay congregation members to care for people experiencing a difficult time in life, such as grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or relocation.

Along with providing care for community members in need, the Caring Team at Hinsdale Covenant leads a drop-in prayer event for the entire community at 8 a.m. on the first Saturday of each month. People come to First Saturdays to pray together, to draw strength from one another, and even to introduce prayer into their lives.

"It's a great opportunity for people to get to know a community of believers," she said.

Haag Mathews believes in the power of prayer, perhaps especially in times when prayers seem to go unanswered. A job that falls through, a relationship that ends or even an illness that is never cured can all be steps toward God's ultimate plan for one's life, Haag Mathews said.

"That's where you have to have faith," she said, and prayer deepens that faith.

Prayer can take many forms, Haag Mathews said. She likes to begin each day by listening to or reading a daily devotional - a message that often includes a topic relevant to her life. The devotional, Haag Mathews said, lays a framework for her day. She follows the devotional with her intentions for the day, giving thanks and asking for help and guidance as she begins her day.

"It helps you live in a state that's very peaceful," she said.

- by Sandy Illian Bosch

Author Bio

Sandy Illian Bosch is a contributing writer to The Hinsdalean