25 Sep Prayer 101: Praying for Others
Lord, the one you love is sick
The third in a series of short articles about prayer written by Friend and Oblate of Mucknell, Fr Raymond Avent.
Behind our prayer for others may lie different attitudes. When someone we love is suffering greatly then, out of our helplessness – and perhaps, too, from the pain and worry it is causing us – we may ask for a miracle. We may feel that if we had more faith God would act. But some situations are beyond changing – and we can only say ‘Your will be done in her/him,’ confident that God is loving them and sharing their experience to bring about a deeper healing beyond our understanding.
Or we may call on the Holy Spirit to be with the one we are concerned about – to give strength and patience, to be able to endure what lies ahead with courage and trust. We may pray: ‘Help her to experience that you are sharing her suffering and that your love never fails. May he find compassion and care from those around him.’ That will include me: and perhaps involve visits, a gift, a card, a phone call; or just sitting with someone and holding their hand. This kind of prayer may involve time as well as concern and can be costly.
When James and John were with Jesus on the mountain of Transfiguration, they were led into a reality of which they had no awareness: they were given a vision of Jesus beyond the merely physical man they knew; they caught a glimpse of the mystery of his divinity, his glory as Son of God. In a prayer inspired by this mystery we might pray : ‘Show my friend your glory, help her to be aware in her weakness and suffering of the power and beauty of your presence; may she know your love as never before. Out of this trial bring him closer to you; save him from despair, awaken him to a deeper realisation of your continual healing at work within him; and give him a profound trust in your never-ending love.’
Again, we may simply bring our friend into the Lord’s presence and stay there with him for a time in the peace of faith in God‘s faithful love: Lord the one you love is sick. (John 11:3)