when you don’t know how to pray for someone


angel of mine

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.

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