I`ll pray for you

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Intercessory prayer is an important part of my online prayer community, Our Lady of the Round Table. In the past days, we have rejoiced in prayers answered. But for each prayer taken off our list, another request is quickly added. The many needs weigh heavily on all hearts. There is often nothing we can do, but pray. And pray we do.

We do not publish specific intentions online, for privacy reasons. But the prayers shared among us are filled with names of family and friends who are in need of God`s grace at this moment in their lives. Some of us are better at this than others. One member has become the `keeper of names`. She faithfully and lovingly lists the litany of intentions that we are remembering each day.

We also intentionally include Mary and all the saints in our prayers, believing that these holy women and men will `pray with us, pray for us, and pray for them`.

Praying for each other is a Christian tradition that spans denominations. Praying with the communion of saints is more of a Catholic tradition; and one that is often misunderstood. Why are you praying to the saints? Why do you need someone to intercede for you? It`s God who answers prayers. So why not pray directly to God? It`s important to remember that we are not praying TO the saints. We are asking the saints to join us in our prayer.

Many years ago, there was a woman in our parish called Anne. A woman of deep prayer, she reminded me of the prophet Anna in Luke`s story of the presentation of Jesus in the temple. (Luke 2: 36-38) In her later years, Anne battled many health issues and was in frequent pain. But, she attended daily mass faithfully; arriving early and leaving late in order to pray. On days when we had Eucharistic Adoration, she didn`t sign up to stay an hour. She stayed the entire day. And she sat, peaceful and calm. Her eyes gazing at the monstrance on the altar. I asked her once, Anne, what do you do in all that time? Her answer? I pray for each and every one of you.

I was overwhelmed with the graciousness of this gift. Dear, holy Anne prayed for me. She prayed for all of us. Surely, God will hear her prayers!

Of course, God hears all our prayers; from the contemplative meditations of a cloistered monk, to the harried traveler begging to catch their flight. It`s easy to say `I will pray for you`. But, there is extra comfort when a prayerful soul says they will pray for you, because you know they will. And, they will pray mightily! Why would we not believe that the saints are part of this band of mighty pray-ers?

From family and friends and church communities, to prayer circles that span the globe. When it comes to intercessory prayer, there is strength in numbers. And it`s good to know that those numbers include our loved ones and all those who have gone before us into eternal glory.

4 thoughts on “I`ll pray for you

  1. Being “one with the other”…living far from most of my close friends and
    family, prevents me from the hug I would like to give them, especially when something is happening…illness of self, a spouse, a family member;
    grieving for a loss of some form, or when anxieties and fears
    appear to them at a lonely time.

    I know when I raise a prayer for them, asking the Divine One to embrace them in a need or dance with them in their joy, I also call upon other people
    to join in the intention …our angels and guides, Mary our Mother…ALL of us joined in the lifting…and how sweet it is. I can actually feel the embrace.
    and imagine in my mindset, prayers flying throughout the skies and over oceans. How blessed are we in this oneness!

    • What a beautifully poetic and inspiring description of the spiritual communion that exists in our prayers! Thank you so much for this, Chris.

  2. This is a story I learned at the Pecos Monastery in the School of Spiritual Direction. The story was told by a Benedictine monk in response to a question by a student, the student had asked about teaching prayer techniques to others.

    Bishop Teaches Prayer

    When the Bishop’s ship stopped at a remote island for a day, he determined to use the time as profitably as possible. He strolled along the seashore and came across three fishermen mending their nets. They explained to him that centuries before their poor village had been visited by missionaries. “We are Christians” they said, proudly pointing to one another. The Bishop was impressed. Did they know the Lord’s Prayer? They had never heard of it.

    “What do you say, then, when you pray?” “We lift our eyes to heaven, and we pray, ‘We are three, and You are three, have mercy on us.’”

    The Bishop was appalled at the primitive, inadequate nature of their prayer. So he spent the whole day teaching them the Lord’s Prayer. The fishermen were poor illiterate men, and slow learners, but they gave it all they had. Before the Bishop sailed away the next day, he had the satisfaction of hearing them go through the whole prayer without fault.

    Months later, the Bishop’s ship happened to pass by those same islands. They stopped at a neighboring island. That night, as the Bishop strolled back and forth on deck, he recalled with much satisfaction, that the three men on that island were now able to pray, thanks to his patient efforts. While he was lost in thought, he happened to look up and noticed a spot of light on the water, near the island. The light kept approaching the ship, and as the Bishop gazed in wonder, he saw three figures walking on the water. When they came closer, he could clearly see that it was the three fishermen, each smiling and waving, and glowing rather brightly.

    “Bishop,” they called out, “we are so sorry. We forgot your lovely prayer. We remember, ‘Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed by They Name’, and then we forget the rest. Please teach us to pray again.”

    The Bishop swallowed, and then said, “Go back to your homes, my friends. And each time you pray, say, ‘we are three, and you are three, have mercy on us.’”

    • This is a great story, Ray. I love how the wee light finally turns on for the Bishop. There is a poignant message here about simple prayer of the heart compared to layering on words we struggle to remember or understand… 😉

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