Monday Musings for 10.5.20


Dear Friends,

The sign in front of the church says, “Pray for our President.”  But how do we do that?

Often, I will tell someone, “I am praying for you.”  Or, “I am holding you in prayer.”  And sometimes (though I really hate to admit this) I move on to my next daily task and never actually pray the prayer I promised.  Am I the only one??

Or maybe you do say the prayer, but you are never sure what to say.  Are there “magical words”?  It is enough to just say, “God, I pray for ___________.  Amen.”

Here are a few quick thoughts on how to pray for someone:

1) Don’t wait.  Pray immediately.  Maybe you need to excuse yourself and go to another room.  Maybe go for a walk.  Whatever it takes, so you can focus.

2) It’s your heart that matters more than your words.  Often I will not say a thing for a while but simply visualize the face of the person I am praying for.  I imagine what it might be like to be facing whatever that person is facing.  A good prayer is a sincere prayer, not an eloquent prayer.  I wonder if the Catholics are onto something.  Rather than struggle for words, try repeating the words that have been part of our faith tradition for centuries, the “Kyrie Eleison,” sometimes called the Jesus prayer:

Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.

Just say these words over and over, with your heart on Jesus and on the one you are praying for.

3) Pray for your enemies.  I realize that our president is not universally admired.  (When was the last time we had one who was?)  All the more reason to unite our hearts in praying for him.  Jesus was specific about this:

But I tell you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who mistreat you and persecute you  (Matthew 5:44).

4) Pray all the time.   This one is in the Bible too.  See I Thessalonians 5:17.  I try to have intentional times that are devoted to prayer.  But I also say “sentence prayers” while I am in the middle of something else.  Sometimes this is a prayer for someone who is on my heart.  Sometimes it is a prayer asking for help with whatever I am doing.  Often it is just a simple “thanks” to God.

It is important that prayer become a habit.  The more you pray, the more comfortable you will get with praying, and the more you will want to pray.

The great pianist, Ignacy Jan Paderewski said this: “If I miss one day of practice, I notice it.  If I miss two days of practice, the critics notice it.  If I miss three days of practice, the audience notices it.”

Don’t miss a single day of prayer!  And don’t use the excuse that you don’t know how.  You do!  You can pray the Jesus prayer, if nothing else.  Maybe that’s all it will take to open a door that has been closed far too long.

And one more thing.  I am praying for you.

In Christ,