“Pray for me”

Prayer-for-Me_web“Pray for me” people say to me.  Some stop me deliberately, others will close their conversation with that petition.  “Pray for me.”  I know what it means but I’ve never understood what it entails?

Do I get to go home early and kneel for awhile while reciting remembered prayers?  Or is this like a nine-day thing that I need to keep track off, like putting an “x” on my monthly calendar?  Do I need to know details to make the prayer effective; like is the prayed-for a victim or merely a victim of him/herself?  And again, how long need I pray?  Never have I been told to “stop praying, everything’s alright now” or “thanks for the prayers but they’re not needed any longer.”  So this is my endless prayers for often an unknown person with little or no details.

This has nothing to do with the priesthood, we are all asked to remember someone in our prayers without a closing date.  What if it’s someone you know with a debilitating condition and then you see her jogging.  Do you then stop your prayers or were your prayers answered and she forgot to email you?  Is this a miracle that you are now a part of?

“Pray for me” is religious code for “please, remember me” for whatever reason.  Or how about, “please, don’t forget me” and my friend or son or daughter that’s having a difficult time right now.

With all the turmoil in the world with nameless deaths, troubled countries that we couldn’t find on a map with a gun to our heads, terrorists with religious intentions but no groundings and troubles found in our daily newspapers. We bow our heads so often it should count for exercise and calorie loss.

If “community” means anything then it means that simple three word request.  Community is always built one person at a time whether we know the person or not.  Prayer is our one bond to all the people of the world.

I’m at home in the evening and I’m remembering and praying for “that woman in the white coat with died hair who asked me to remember her son in the Army.”  Am I doing my job?  So I say, “Please remember God, mom and son.”

What does our “Pray for me” look like?  Do we tell God what to do as in “cure,” “remission,” “new career,” “better husband,” “long awaited raise,” “St. Joseph buried somehow to sell the house,” “getting into Yale,” “better credit rating,” “heaven for your dead cat,” “Green Bay Packers recover,” “peaceful death.”  You and I know it can be a longer list for all those things in our needs, wants or desires.

We know we can’t tell God anything but our response to that simple three word question is matched by three simple words, “God bless you.”

“God bless you” in your struggle with whatever it may be.  “God bless you” with all the virtues instilled in you since birth to see you through whatever.  “God bless you” in your waiting and wanting and not knowing the outcome.  “God bless you” to know that I am with you and your troubles in the name of God.  We should never forget that God unites and we are the single folks trying our best to unite.  “God bless you” may not be the answer but it truly is a great beginning – and the best we can do.  (Oh, and it is also covers sneezes.)

About Rev. Joe Jagodensky, SDS.

A Roman Catholic priest since 1980 and a member of the Society of the Divine Savior (Salvatorians). www.Salvatorians.com. He is associate pastor of partnering parishes, Christ King and St. Bernard parishes in Wauwatosa, WI.
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