Expressions of Prayer Support Others

The weather on the day of our neighbor’s graduation party hovered on the edge of pessimism for any outdoor festivities. I watched them hang balloons across the street in preparation while I tied up my delphiniums. I felt with them and hoped for good weather even while raindrops wet my hair.

By the time their event came in the afternoon the clouds lingered but only a few dry gusts of wind rushed up our street. As is typical small talk at such events, I mentioned the weather. Then I said something that many of us say in that same vein, “We’ve been praying for you to have good weather.”

As soon as I said this I caught my dishonesty. My heartfelt desire when I staked my delphiniums with wooden supports in the heavy gloom of the approaching rain was that their party wouldn’t be ruined, but I didn’t actually utter a prayer for this request. My statement was akin to the overused phrase at the time of crises in someone’s life, “Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

A promise of a prayer for someone is often on our lips as a way to convey our good will and desires for their well-being, but how often do we pray for them in a reverent petition to God by name? I usually follow through with my expressed promise; yet, praying specifically for others is not nearly as easy to remember as speaking or writing those words to the one in need.

Each of us needs a support system, so why do we easily forget those for whom we can and should pray when our private time comes to do so? Could it be that the emotion of the moment brings forward our best intentions but that dissipates when we are in our own world?

Many religious individuals compile prayer lists to remind them of those who need our prayers. I like the more personal approach that Donetta at My Quiet Corner shared in A Praying Mother.

She prays in depth for her children and each week she associates a scripture that she personalizes in her prayers for them. She writes down both the scriptures and her prayers, which in her own words leads to more “focused thoughts and prayers for them.”

Her example shows me that when we desires specific blessings for others we can request that desired help from God. Her faith and prayer become an instrumental link in the process to bring her closer to her children and to deity. As she shares the journals she’s kept, she adds another layer that encourages their direct relationship with God.

Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire, but as I learned in my mistaken expression, effective prayer for others is far more sincere when my desire is not just out of emotion or expectation but also heartfelt recognition of and requests to deity.

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2 Comments

  1. Rebecca
    Jul 6, 2009

    It’ so funny-I’ve thought about this exact topic for a long time! You express it in such better detail than my thoughts.

  2. Donnetta
    Jul 8, 2009

    You are so right. There are so many times the word prayer is used as casually in conversation as something like “Have a good day”.

    I am trying to be more conscious of my praying and the use of the word. I don’t want to throw it around casually as is so easy to do!

    Thanks so much for the link, especially given such a topic! 🙂

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