Offering Our Selves in Prayer for Others
Yesterday at Mass, I had an interesting revelation.
I don’t know about you, but often times I try to make it a habit of trying to pray for people that have wronged me in the past, specifically when I bring it up in a conversation. Of course, I don’t always remember, but I do my best.
I think what frustrates me the most, is that, to be honest, a lot of the time, the person who has offended me is a priest that I’ve had a bad run in with, usually when it comes to confession. It bothers me when they don’t want to hear confessions. As a priest, that is part of their job, and when a sinner asks for confession, they should be readily able to hear the confession, especially since you don’t know if the penitent will be able to make it after they leave. Its one thing when they are busy, say, getting ready for Mass, but in these instances it is not the case. I digress.
I make it a habit to say a quick prayer for this or that priest who didn’t want to hear my confession. But, getting back to the main point, at Mass yesterday, I was thinking about this a bit more.
As Catholics, we are called to pray constantly, offering everything we do up for God. Something that I struggle with is remembering to pray for my friends and family and acquaintances by name, rather than by my usual “I pray for all my friends…”. Now, there isn’t nothing wrong with praying that way, especially when you have a lot of people to pray for, but I was thinking, what about all the people I don’t pray for?
Let’s take the example I gave above a few steps further. Now, instead of praying for someone who wrongs you, let’s make it even more realistic. Maybe, when we talk about anybody, good or bad, we should be praying for them. So, when you are having a conversation with your mom and you’re talking about grandma, positively or negatively, you begin to pray for her, offering up your conversation for her. Now, you’re praying like a Catholic!
Let’s take this even another step further. While you are talking with your mom…start praying for her! Yeah, that’s right! Pray for those who you are having a conversation with. What a concept! This will begin to put you in the shoes of the Saints who constantly prayed for those around them. Think about how much you’d grow in your spiritual life, not only because you are praying more, but you are making an effort to pray for all people around you, whether they are friend or foe, family or acqaintance, needing it or not. You will become a stronger individual and happier. I’m rather certain that those around you engaging in conversation will notice the difference too.
So, give it a try, pray for those around you more often. Then when you go to bed and when you say your prayers (you do say them right?) you don’t need to worry about forgetting about people. Make the extra effort though. It feels good when someone tells you specifically that they prayed for you by name. If you have to, make a list of everyone you need/want to pray for, and do it.