My Prayer…


We say we will pray for people.

It has become a platitude,

“I’m praying for you…”

If you don’t pray regularly, how can you say you’ll pray specifically?

I rarely promise prayer because it sounds to me like a conversation closer.

“How are you?”

“Not doing so well I just had bad news…”

“I’m sorry to hear that, I’ll keep you in my prayers.  Next!”

My prayer list is short and select, the fact that five people on my list died in a few brief months does not say much for my prowess at communing with the divine when rated on worldly terms, but I am faithful and God is in charge.

I now have some slots to fill…

“I’ll pray for you,” still gets stuck in my throat.

I’ll just do it!  You may or may not find your name on my list at the back of my journal.

Now that we no longer sit down at the breakfast table and do morning and lunchtime prayers, the prayer list does not get an airing.  Although I have made an effort to pray unceasingly I often get stuck on one person for days and weeks, like a dripping tap wearing a hole in the porcelain.

I am a scheduler and organiser at heart and am bothered that I forget to pray equally for my immediate family.  I used to waken in the night saying Our Fathers and Hail Marys in a continuous stream for my parents who were struggling with their Endtimes.  Now I offer up these moments of wakefulness for no-one in particular.  Neatly knitted squares of prayer ready to cover anyone in need.  A prayer bank so to speak, a form of prevenience.

But I want to channel my prayer, be mindful of someone in particular, offer up part of myself for that special person in my life.  Those lovingly knitted squares of prayer aimlessly hovering around, bother me, they need to have a place to hang, halo-like, protectively.

Then I started to pray for each one of my children on their day.

Their day dates back to when they were young and fiercely loved checking the mail and answering the phone at lunchtime when their father called in from work.  What was an excitedly anticipated time of the day began to end in tears.

I became the mother of invention and stepped up to the page with my scheduling pencil.  These special responsibilities needed a non-confrontational solution that worked better than,

“I’ll get it!” chorused by four trilling voices when the phone rang, followed by a hurtle across the living room that would put the horses at the gate to shame, ending in a photo finish and a bloody battle for possession.

In age order they were assigned a day for these two extracurricular, none chore, duties, leaving Friday as mine to check the mail and answer the phone first and then hand it around the table.  It worked well for the rest of their time at home living in community.

With empty nest things have changed.  Hubs works in the house so he is the happy recipient of the lunchtime phone call from one or other of the children.  I’ve gone paperless on all my bills so the mailbox rarely holds anything of substance, the plethora of junk mail somehow negates my efforts at saving trees.  Racing no-one to the curb holds no attraction.

The scheme works to keep me focussed.  I pray for each child, on his or her day, during the week.  On my yoga mat, during my walk, and in my restless nights.  Hubs gets Friday, I get Saturday, yes, I pray for myself, and the whole family gets Sunday.  Of course they blend and bleed and that’s all right.

Do my children mind that I pray for them?  I don’t say.  It’s a platitude, remember?

One day they’ll know as I did when I discovered prevenient prayer and felt a family member had prayed fervently for me throughout my growing up without mentioning it

When my mother told me she was praying for me I would go on the defensive.  My hackles would rise.  I felt I was leading the wrong kind of life in her mind, a life that had compelled her to pray for me!  I wanted to tell her to please not bother for she may get it wrong and my life would be ruined.  What if she was praying against my desires?

That’s how I felt about prayer when I was young.

I’ve changed my perception of prayer but the hangover from feeling judged when I’m prayed for still lingers.

I don’t say,

“I’ll pray for you…” as my daughter leaves the house to meet friends.  That may imply disapproval!

I do say,

“I’ll pray for you…” when a child is heading for a tough meeting or facing a challenging day at work.  That may imply support.

In secret I pray that my children feel blessed that I think about and pray for them on their special day!

I pray that they may feel God’s warm embrace;

Bask in His glory,

Know they are cherished by God through me.

I pray a pathway of sweet grass to cushion their steps through life,

A hedgerow of fragrant leaves to protect them from cruel blows,

A roof of thatch to keep the hailstones out and

Strong arms to carry them when they stumble.



Share this:

No comments so far!

Leave a Comment