when you don’t know how to pray for someone


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I’ve been thinking about this off and on for a long time.  Looong time.  What do you do when you want to pray for a particular person but you don’t know what to pray?  Has there been a time where you’ve been witness to an impossible situation concerning someone you know?  What about when you love someone deeply and they are hurt and need a touch from our loving God?  Oh, here’s another situation – you see a loved one in a difficult place in their life and you just know you can help but your help isn’t necessarily the best way to go.  And by that I mean you need to butt out.  Ouch, that hurts especially because you know you have all the answers and they should do what you tell them, etc., etc., etc.

What do you do?

To my surprise, I don’t have all the answers.  🙂  However I have come across a prayer that helps me deal with situations like the above mentioned.  It helps me stay focused on God; His will, not mine.  It’s an old Catholic prayer but I didn’t know of it until a few months ago.  It’s called the Morning Offering and it goes like this:

Dear Lord, I do not know what will happen to me today.  I only know that nothing will happen that was not foreseen by you and directed to my greater good from all eternity.  I adore your holy and unfathomable plans and submit to them with all my heart for love of you, the Pope, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

I’d like to share what jumps out at me from the prayer.   Nothing will happen that was not foreseen by You...  In other words, God knows.  He knows what is going on.   He knows what you are going through and He knows how He is going to use it for your own good.  He’s got it covered.    From all eternity…  Big words, aren’t they?  From all eternity, something our little pea brains cannot adequately grasp.  Our minds are finite, therefore unable to quite get it.  But think about this, He,  being the perfect Father that He is, makes sure that what happens to us today will work into something good for us for all eternity.  That’s a long time.  Mind. Blown.    Submit to them with all my heart…  Give in.  Trust.  Believe.  Turn over the reigns.  Hand over control.  Bow down.  Revere.

Now, back to praying for others when you don’t have the words.  Sometimes situations require a different approach.  You want to cover that person with your prayers, but you are drawing a blank.  Maybe you’ve done everything you know how and a problem still exists.  Maybe you’re one step away from, um, shall we say interference?  Face it.  You can’t control everything and there comes a time when you simply have to leave it up to God.  It’s better that way, anyway.  So maybe you can offer a version of this Morning Offering for your pray-ee.  Example:

Loving God, I do not know what will happen to my dad today.  I only know that nothing will happen to him that was not foreseen by you and directed for his greater good from all eternity.  I adore your holy and unfathomable plans for my dad, and submit to them with all my heart for love of You, the Pope, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

I put my heart and soul into it.  And this prayer keeps me from feeling the despair of not knowing what to pray.  It preserves me from the agonizing question of have I done enough.   And then, after I have prayed this, I’m free to offer my opinion to Him, not that it’s needed by any means (!) but more than that, my words of love, concern, and hope.

These days, there is so much to pray for, so many who need our prayers.  Here’s one example – our grandchildren.  I don’t always know what to pray for mine.  They range in age from 16 years to 10 months.  The younger ones are easy to pray for.  It’s the teenagers that stump me!  Times have changed so much since my children were that age.  And with everything those baby grands have facing them these days, it’s no wonder I don’t know what to pray!  It’s mind-boggling.  When I pray my version of the Morning Offering for them, it is like dipping my feet into a warm spa.  I know I’m doing what I need to for them.  Most importantly, I’m not interfering and I’m letting God fill in the blanks.  He knows what they need and I’m comfortable, make that grateful, that He will direct their circumstances for their good from all eternity.

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I hope you are having a productive lent.  Productive lent?  Yes, one that opens your mind to the passion of Christ, one that unites you to His love, one that teaches you the discipline of sacrifice.  Open your hearts, people.  And please pray for peace.  The whole world needs your prayers.  Show God your love and devotion by praying for His people.  I’m offering mine today along with all of your intentions.  Drop me a line if you have a particular prayer request and I will go to my knees for you.

I’d consider it a great favor if you will ‘like’ and maybe share or comment here on this post.

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LOVE NOTES AND NEW AQUAINTENCES


Oh My Jesus – You are such a sweetheart!

This was on my mind first thing this morning. I love when I wake up thinking about the Lord! I have to be honest here. It doesn’t happen all that often but when it does, my day is so much better.

I love Him. I do. I want to love Him more. And big, I want to love Him big. I want my life to revolve around Him. I wish I could say it does, but sadly, not so much. You see, you have to make a conscious effort to do that and, well, I forget. I forget to say grace every time I eat. I forget to thank Him sometimes. I forget to pray without ceasing. I forget that His plan for me, especially the bad things that have happened, are for my own good. I forget to adore Him. So, I am going to write Him a love letter here and now. I know, I know. He probably doesn’t read blogs, but He knows what is in my heart. Here it is:

Sacred and Eternal Trinity,

How can I thank you for loving me, for this blessed life you have so freely given me? How can I thank you for the grace to live it? Lord, you are the best. I’ve been told that there is nothing I can do that will stop your love for me. It is never ending and I feel that. Why me? I’m not worthy! I find it odd that you think I am, considering all that I have done that is against your very nature. Your forgiveness is the greatest gift I could ever in a million years receive. My heart and soul thanks you.

Today we celebrate your birthday! Happy Birthday my God! You came into the world to bless it and you certainly have! We poor humans have become so complacent, such an instant gratification generation, that we haven’t made time to listen to you. You have a better way. If only everyone could see that! If only we all would seek it out, how much better the world would be!

I love you Lord and I love your way. Please let me learn that way. Please let me love you more. Please quicken my mind so that I won’t forget.

Oh My Jesus, you are such a sweetheart!

With love,  Nancy

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New Friend! Today my friend Diana introduced me to her friend Laura. She is a new addition to my Kindred Spirits club. That’s a club I have formed in my heart that contains many people I have met that I consider Kindred Spirits, meaning we share much the same thoughts on life, the Lord, love. It is a pleasure to welcome her in! She is, like Diana, such a beautiful soul. She is loving, confident, encouraging, sharing, faith filled, beautiful. She, again like Diana, has a heart for the Lord. I want to be like her (once again like Diana!).

Let me tell something that I shared with Laura and Diane today. In fact, you may consider it part of the series I promised to write about sin. (I am so self-righteous!) It is about forgiveness, something every one of us struggles with from time to time. Mostly self forgiveness. And confession, too, something not a lot of people do on a regular basis, myself included. I went to confession (I am Catholic) some time back and I confessed some sins that I committed long years ago. I admitted I had confessed those sins over and over but I had struggled with forgiving myself even though I believed God had forgiven me. My priest actually told me “I am so glad you are here! And that you have made such a good confession!” Then he went on explaining why. I felt lifted up, rejuvenated. He assured me of God’s love for me and desire to see me come into holiness by confessing my sins, all of them. At that point I told him that sometimes I woke up in the night and could feel nothing but sorrow for these sins. What he said then will stay with me the rest of my life. He said “God has already forgiven you. Now forgive yourself. And when you wake up with these sins on your mind, it means that you still haven’t learned everything you need to from the experiences you’ve had. So wake up and ask God what it is He wants you to learn from it now.” I’ve tried to do that ever since but, again, sometimes I forget. So I’m just going to say this:

Oh My Jesus, you are such a Sweetheart!

Please don’t forget to pray for peace – all kinds of peace. Peace for the world, peace in the government, peace in our hearts, peace in relationships, peace in forgiveness. The whole world – all of us – need your prayers.

Merry Christmas from Louisiana!!

 

LESSONS I’M TRYING TO LEARN #1 in a series: IF WE HAVE A HEART FOR GOD


Nothing qualifies me to write this post other than the fact that I am a sinner. I do not have any theological education except for that gleaned from the pages of the bible, and various pulpits.  I realize I don’t know everything and am well aware that I lack understanding many, many things that concern the workings of the heart and soul of modern humanity with relation to God. This particular blog post is the first of a series I plan to write on lessons I’ve learned and is derived strictly from my own experiences and opinions. The subject is subjective.  So, proceed with caution. You may not agree with me. That’s your choice.  It’s ok.

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HIDDEN SIN AND THE NEED FOR CONFESSION

Nothing is more humbling than confession. I mean nothing. It borders on humiliation. I’m no expert but I know this to be true from personal experience. I am, however, an expert sinner. As I look back on my life, there are areas of sin in which I am truly ashamed. I won’t go into gory detail – that’s between God and me – but I’ve done things that would upset any mother if she heard such details about her child. The only redeeming part is that mothers are sinners too. We all are, of course. Unfortunately, escaping the desire to sin requires a strength that we, as mere humans, don’t possess. There is no human willpower greater than sin, only that given by the Divine. The catch is we have to ask for it. God gave us free will. He worked the desire to make choices into our DNA, so to speak. That part probably hurts Him but He has such innate love for us, His desire is to see us become whole in every sense of the word. And that includes our choices. It’s simple, really. One cannot consciously make horrible choices and expect to have a wonderful life. Can you identify? Geeez, I can. It’s a been there, done that, bought the t-shirt kind of thing.

Before I get into what I really want to talk about today, let me ask – why bother feeling bad about our actions? What is sin? And why is it so bad? I mean isn’t it simply normal to do the wrong thing sometimes? Well, yes. Yes it is. But when you weigh the difference between what hurts and what gives joy, it’s easy to understand. Do we want to always have a cloud of despair hanging over us, or do we want to enjoy breathing deeply of peace of mind and heart? If we have a heart for God and all things holy would we want to risk loosing them by following our own agenda for what we think brings happiness?  Could going against the word of God actually bring happiness?  That’s the definition of sin, that which goes against the law and teaching of God.  Sin clogs our proverbial arteries and keeps us from living life to the fullest. It’s like lung disease that keeps us from being able to breathe. Once it takes hold, we are forced to live with it but we can’t without coughing and spewing and gasping. It chokes the life right out of us. And that, my friends, is one reason why we bother worrying about our sins. We seek forgiveness of them because we can’t live a good life with them on board. God’s forgiveness is like a holy lavage washing away the obstructions and leaving behind clean, breathable airways. Holy forgiveness is like spiritually cleansing proverbial arteries and inserting stents to keep the life blood flowing.  Only it isn’t just a patch. It is healing.

Hidden sin. It’s a killer. It’s hard to see, hard to imagine, hard to find, hard to bear. It is just that, hidden. I’ll share a good example of that given to me not long ago. Let’s say a person decided to rob a store. He enlists the help of his good buddy to drive the getaway car. The poor buddy, suddenly excited about the worldly wealth coming his way, blindly follows the directions given him and the caper is pulled off. You know where this is going, right? Both are guilty, both have broken the commandment “Thou shall not steal”. Is one more sinful than the other? What if they both confess their sin and ask for forgiveness? Could there be hidden sin that needs confessing? There is in the fact that the first person enlisted the help of the second. He enticed his good buddy into sin. He essentially gave him a ticket on the train to ruin. Don’t think I don’t know that the second person did, in fact, accept the assignment. He did and that’s something he has to atone for. But what if the first person doesn’t confess the sin of dragging another down with him? The hidden sin becomes a thorn in his soul. It festers there and keeps him from complete healing. The first person needs to see what he has done in terms of leading another into sin. He gave the ‘ticket’ to his good buddy. It’s true the good buddy had it stamped, so to speak, and he is responsible for that, but the ticket (hidden sin) is what got him on the ride.
Now this is an extreme example, not one likely to be commonplace so lets think about something more relative. Let’s look at a scenario that is far too common – Let’s say a married man is attracted to a woman at work. She is vulnerable and desperately wants to be loved by someone, anyone. She says she draws the line at taking another woman’s husband but that doesn’t stop the man from pursuing her and trying to convince her that having an affair is a good idea. He comes onto her so strongly that finally she gives in and they have a full blown affair. They both come to regret it and seek forgiveness by confession. But let’s not forget this: her sin of adultery is strong enough to ruin lives. His sin of infidelity AND leading his co-worker into sin also has grave consequences. They both ‘bought the ticket’ but the hidden sin needs recognition and confession for a complete healing.

How many areas in our lives do we have hidden sin? Wow. Good question. And a good reason to seriously contemplate what we include in our confessions to God. Our desire, no, our need is for complete forgiveness and healing of our heart and soul.

Let me ask you this; have you seen a child learning to walk? Did you love to see him struggle to get to their feet and take their first steps only to fall to the floor and cry with a broken heart? Of course not. Well then, were you delighted when the child managed to get to his feet again and actually take those first steps with an ear-to-ear grin on his face, triumphantly clapping chubby hands and happily giggling? I like to think that this is how God feels when He sees His children get up off the floor and try again in terms of asking for healing and help to live a wonderful life in accordance with His will. The key to doing that is first carefully examining and then baring your soul to Him, hidden sins and all. Yes, I know He is all-knowing and already has seen what you are, much the same as you do with a child. But, oh how He loves when we learn to come to Him!

Think about it.

And by the way, please pray for peace.  Once again, let me say the world is depending on your prayers.  Please pray that mankind will wake up to the atrocities of war, famine, need.  It’s not too much to ask.  God surely has sent people with the skills and ability to do the right thing.  Please pray that people will wake up and finally do the right thing.