Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Pray-er is [IN]

You may have noticed that I rarely post prayer requests here. You may have thought one of the following:

"She doesn't seem to pray much."

"She doesn't seem to care one bit about all the heartwrenching calamities out there."

"I wish she had a heart."

"Gee ... I wonder what Ramona's thinking?"


Well, my friends, if you have thought any of the above, let's talk. Except about the Ramona part. That person can go read my last post.

On the subject of prayer:

Sometimes it all threatens to overwhelm us, doesn't it? The disasters and tragedies, the accidents and crimes, the husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and friends who are in Iraq, or elsewhere in the military, the chronic illnesses, the medical conditions, the aged, the troubled marriages and families ... so many things to pray for.

And yet, I don't mention a single one of them here.

But they are here. I just have a paralyzing fear of leaving someone out.

I don't like to start mentioning specifics here, for several reasons. One is that some things are too personal for a blog. Everyone understands that. Easy. Another is that to choose to post a few, but not others, makes me feel that I'm dubbing some requests blogworthy, others not so much. (Incidentally, I don't feel that way when I read a specific request on someone else's blog. I just assume they felt moved to post at that moment. So, please know that I'm only this neurotic about my own blog, not about yours.)

So, anyway, anyway ... close to home, or far away, the requests do come in, and I do think about them, and they are attended to. Just not here.

But, how does one attend to so many requests? We're all overwhelmed at times by our own needs and those of others. So, what to do?

One easy way to address them, and to keep the promise to pray, is to pray something -- anything -- immediately. A spontaneous prayer. A Memorare. A quick but heartfelt, "Lord, have mercy."

Then, one of several things can happen to keep it going:

I assign particular requests to particular kids. We always gather together to pray at night, and the list of those for whom we pray is always growing, ever-changing.

Anne-with-an-e puts requests on her prayer chain. For her, this is a literal prayer chain. She made a paper chain, and each new request becomes a link. The chain is hanging in our dining room (because, as you know, I have a fabulous sense of style when it comes to interior decor.)

The other thing I do is write down prayer requests in a little notebook that I keep handy for just such things.

Prayer requests shouldn't overwhelm us. They're a part of this trudge through life. We just have to keep striving for them to become as natural as breathing.

We want to:
Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."

~~ 1 Thess. 5:16-18

Yes, there's a lot to pray for. Yes, the world is often a sad, sorry, terrible place. But, it's also full of tiny glimpses of Heaven that come to us in the form of friendship and phone calls, daughters and hot fudge sundaes, marriage and babies, and a million other little bits of the Divine that are allowed to permeate our lives.

This sad, sorry terrible place is the place God gave us to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, and it's worth praying for. Worth thanking Him for. Worth starting a paper chain for, keeping a notebook for, and keeping promises to Pray. Right. Now.

"Every moment comes to us pregnant with a command from God, only to pass on and plunge into eternity, there to remain forever what we have made of it."

~~ St. Francis de Sales

Now. I'm off to see what Ramona's thinking today.


Jennifer said...

Beautiful post Karen - you summed up how I feel about inter-praying very nicely.

Patience said...

((Hugs)) I love this post. When I get a prayer request, I always attend to it immediately, and often it will rise again in my mind over the following days and weeks. But I think the idea of a prayer chain is wonderful!! I will make one of those this week. I also love the idea of involving your children in prayer requests.

Beck said...

This was a lovely post. LOVELY.

Ron said...

"One easy way to address them, and to keep the promise to pray, is to pray something -- anything -- immediately."

Excellent advice.

Alice Gunther said...

Very beautiful and true.

Margaret in Minnesota said...

What they said!

And that seems like a cop-out but really, Karen, you've summed it up so well.

Will you be my kids R.E. teacher when they hit high school?

Anonymous said...

I love that you assign requests to the children. I so often forget to include them in intercession for others they don't know. But they don't need to know them in order to intercede for them. Very nice.

molly said...

Wonderful post, you have a blessed day.