Recently, a coworker came into my office to discuss scheduling conflicts arising from the need to comfort and be present to her grandmother, who is nearing the end of her life. We talked about her condition and shared the joys of her life. As we finished our conversation, she asked for prayers for her grandmother. Seeing the longing and compassion on her face and being moved by the Holy Spirit, I asked if we could pray for her grandmother then and there.
Have you been in that situation before? “I’ll pray for you” or “Would you pray for this?” are common expressions in our lives as disciples, as they should be! Jesus tells us to be persistent in asking, seeking, and knocking. Turning our hearts to prayer is efficacious, regardless of when we do it. But maybe you’ve been in a situation before where you sensed that “I’ll pray for you” just wasn’t enough. Or maybe you’ve been asked for prayer but also realized you needed a spiritual/physical hug too.
Spontaneously praying with others for our needs takes vulnerability. It can be awkward, especially because it is not something we typically do. I am confident that this prayer of petition is something that all our hearts desire. Do not be afraid to make this normal because you have an advocate, the Holy Spirit, to help you.
My invitation to you this Lent is to step out of the boat to be a source of healing to others. My challenge to you is to stop me, one of our priests, or staff members and ask us to pray with you. We want to teach you to also be a source of balm of the Holy Spirit. Another great place to become more comfortable with this type of prayer is by becoming a part of St. Monica’s Ministry.
Here are just a few suggestions to help overcome the obstacles of knowledge and fear to give you the confidence to bring others to encounter Jesus:
1. As you listen, drawing inspiration from empathy and feeling called to pray, ask if you could pray together then and there.
2. Ask the Holy Spirit (silently or out loud) to give you the word to pray. You may or may not receive direct words.
3. In faith, making your petition known you can follow this general formula:
a. Address God, and you can be specific: God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit.
b. Acknowledge feelings, situation, needs, and ask for intercession.
c. Close the prayer by asking in the name of Jesus.
It can sound like this for example: “Lord Jesus, Jack is hurting right now as he watches his wife struggle in pain after her knee surgery. We ask that you visit Jill and give her peace and healing. We ask for the loving care of our Father for them in your most holy name.”