Thursday, March 12, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday

Today I am thinking about the phrases "Please pray for me" and "I'll pray for you".

When you hear about a friend's difficulties and/or they ask you to pray for them, it's so easy to say "Sure, I'll pray for you". It makes the person who needs the prayers feel better and it makes us feel like we are doing something to help.

However, after we promise someone our prayers, how do we actually go about praying for them? Just the other day, I wrote on a friend's blog that I would pray for her to have a safe delivery. Then I forced myself to stop and offer up a prayer for that very intention so that I hadn't just typed false words.

But besides the immediate prayer request I send up to Heaven, I all-too-often forget to pray for that intention again. This is a fault that I definitely need to work on. Even at the bottom of our Christmas cards we usually write something like "Praying for you to have a Merry Christmas and Blessed New Year", but do we actually pray for all those people we send the cards to?

I know I could make it a point to say a Rosary for a special intention, or offer up the Eucharist at the next Mass I attend, or even make a small sacrifice, such as not eating in between meals that day. Yet, I don't do those things often enough.

I know a wonderful priest who keeps a list of people he prays for daily in his pocket, and when the list gets too long to mention each one by name, he just prays for all of the people on his list. I also know a family of eight who has a prayer board in their kitchen as a daily reminder of who needs their prayers. What great ideas, and ones I should be incorporating into my own life.

What are some of the ways you pray for people? How do you remember all the intentions? I would love to hear your advice on this subject, as I feel I have a lot to learn!


  1. There are seasons in my life when I'm much more faithful to praying for people than other times. But it's like any other habit - once you get into the habit, it's easier to remember to do.

    Your concerns sound a lot like mine - you offer to pray for someone and you know you should, but how do you just not forget? Here are a few things that have worked for various seasons of my life:

    I've kept a list for each day of the week, and I keep it with my Bible, so I pray for the listed people each day of the week when I read my Bible.

    I have friends who have assigned certain "triggers" to tasks they routinely do - when you're doing the dishes, pray for X, when you're cleaning the bathroom, pray for Y, etc.

    I have also done mini-fasts on a regular basis. I can't completely fast from food for an entire day b/c I have blood sugar issues. But when I'm in the habit, I will do a noon - 3 fast (no food or water for 3 hours - during the hours that Jesus hung on the Cross). And during that time, I will pray for a number of intentions. If I feel hungry or thirsty during that time, I remember to pray for those people. Since it's a "small" fast, I often do it several days a week. I'm out of the habit right now because of some health issues, but thanks for the reminder!

    thanks for the great discussion starter. :)

    God bless,

  2. Oh I like the idea of a prayer board.

    I also feel like saying, "I'll pray for you" is a commitment I make and I have to carry through.

    I have a six-year-old who is an awesome prayer warrior though. That kid amazes me with the stuff he can remember to pray for.

  3. Writing a prayer list is an awesome idea! When we have family prayer, we will go around the family and see everyone can offer people that might need prayers before we start.

    Good topic!


  4. When I say "Prayers" on a blog, I stop and say at LEAST one Hail Mary to maintain my integrity.
    The goal is to remember to include the person later in a more reverent setting, but that doesn't always occur.
    Great post.

  5. I am a compulsive list-maker, and LOVE the idea of having a prayer board in the kitchen for my family. We have a dry-erase board (glued to the pantry door from the last owners) and that would be the perfect thing to do with it.


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