"I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers..."
After you have made a decision that is pleasing to God, the Devil may try to make you have second thoughts. Intensify your prayer time, meditation, and good deeds. For if Satan's temptations merely cause you to increase your efforts to grow in holiness, he'll have an incentive to leave you alone.
Think of your neighborhood as a ‘garden’ the Lord has you a steward of. It is an extended family. If you see someone on your walk, why not offer a prayer up for them. (Especially if you’ve had some negative experience with them in the past.)
Are you stuck in traffic behind a car? Next to a car booming music you can’t stand? Smelling diesel exhaust from a truck or bus? Rather than get frustrated or angry, offer up a prayer for the driver. If you see a minivan with kids, pray for the parent and the children. If you listen to talk radio, offer a prayer up for the host and particular callers. God hears all sincerely offered prayer.
There are many people who do not know the Lord. Many who do not have hope and are considering suicide. Despair is of the devil. It fools people into giving up on God’s mercy. Offer up a pray for the person at that moment most in need of Jesus’ mercy. Pray that they take hold of the hope the Holy Spirit offers, and that the devil’s plans are thwarted. Do this daily. Suggestion: If you are someone who wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, when you get back to bed, before lying down, take a minute or two to offer up a prayer like this. Don’t worry that your sleep will be messed up. God will bless you. You may even find that you extend the time a bit as God puts others on your heart as well to pray for in that moment.
You may see them on the streets suffering from drugs or alcohol. There are other addictions impacting people as well. Pornography ravages many. And a recent addiction gaining more hold is electronic addiction, whether to social media, gaming, or video content. Addiction separates people from community. Pray that they come to the realization that none of it can fill the God-shaped hole inside them. Pray that they get legitimate help, and take the grace and mercy Jesus offers them.
The lonely are all around us. Some are physically lonely (a widow/widower). Some are emotionally lonely (those with no friends, those alienated from family). Some are spiritually lonely (those with no religion, those who reject the idea of God, those who pursue a ‘god’ in creation rather than the Creator). They don’t know/believe that God specifically created them so He could share His love for eternity with them. Pray that they open their hearts to the True God, that they allow Him on the throne of their hearts, and reject the fake spirituality the world and the devil offer.
News. It’s all around us. We see on tv, hear it on the radio, and read it on our phones. “Click-bait” calls us. It is said that “scrolling is like a slot machine for the mind”. If we are honest, we take in more than we should. Curiosity can lead to the vice of sloth, a reluctance to engage in spiritual activities. Be careful of temptations in this regard. One way to combat the devil’s temptation to sloth is to actually pray for the people you become aware of via the news. “Flip the script,” if you will. If you read of a murder, pray for the victims and their families that they know God’s love and comfort, and that the perpetrator repent and the devil denied a “victory”. If you hear of a persecution due to people holding to God’s truth versus the lies of the world, pray for them, and pray that people’s eyes be opened to the lies and not be fooled anymore. Whatever the news, people are involved. You can offer prayers for their situations.
Jesus says in Matthew 22:37-39 ““You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
So then, who is our neighbor? In the Catechism, paragraph 2212, it says “The fourth commandment illuminates other relationships in society. In our brothers and sisters we see the children of our parents; in our cousins, the descendants of our ancestors; in our fellow citizens, the children of our country; in the baptized, the children of our mother the Church; in every human person, a son or daughter of the One who wants to be called "our Father." In this way our relationships with our neighbors are recognized as personal in character. The neighbor is not a "unit" in the human collective; he is "someone" who by his known origins deserves particular attention and respect.”
God knows the person you are praying for. He knows their deepest needs. We don’t need to know all the specifics in order to pray for someone. We just need to see them as a special and unique creation of our Heavenly Father, someone whom God loves, and desires to be loved by.
If a person is still alive, then they are someone who can benefit from the prayers of others. It doesn’t matter their age. It doesn’t matter their religion, or lack thereof. Every living person has the opportunity to receive the saving grace of God, the sanctifying grace of God, and His mercy and love. No one is beyond prayer. You may be the only person that day to pray for someone. They may have no family or friends. But Jesus desires to save and to bless, and for us to participate in His works. So don’t be timid!
And remember, we have a Heavenly Father who is outside time. He is in the eternal present, seeing everything at once. So what does that mean? Our prayers are not limited by time! If God puts someone on your heart who has already passed, you can still offer a prayer up for them. A simple prayer you can offer up could be, "O Lord, I pray for _____. Lord, I pray that at the hour of their death, they took hold of all the grace and mercy You had for them, and they died in friendship with You. And I pray their time of purification was quick and that they are enjoying now the beatific vision (perfect happiness)."
Living in the world can be difficult at times. We see the effects of sinful actions by others. We can have anger at those actions, but it is important to remember that God desires to save the person who has hurt others. Our true enemy is Satan and the fallen angels who seek to lead all to hell. They often know who “pushes our buttons” and will bring them to mind, especially at inopportune times, like when we are trying to grow spiritually. Turn the tables on them!
If Person X comes to mind and you feel uncharitable thoughts towards them, offer up a pray for that person. “Lord, you know how I feel about the actions of Person X. They have hurt a lot of people. But Father, You will all men to be saved, so I pray for Person X, that they would turn to You, repent of their sin, and take all the mercy and grace you have for them, so that they would lead others to You.”
A great thing about a sincere prayer like that is it blesses two people: you – by having an expanding heart for all God’s children, and Person X – who has someone praying that they receive grace and mercy.
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