conscious, contemplative prayer, intentions, mercy of God, petitions, Pope Francis, prayer, prayer life, quiet, St. Paul, Thanksgiving, The Sophia Center for Spirituality, Timothy, tranquil, unity
In St. Paul’s first letter to Timothy, his young protégé, he urges the importance of prayer as a constant in life. I was struck this morning with many questions when I read the following:
Beloved: First of all, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity…It is my wish then, that in every place [people] should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument. (1TM 2:1-3, 8)
I immediately thought of Pope Francis and his exhortations toward mercy and unity, care for creation and one another. Then I thought of all manners of prayer and how my prayer life has changed over the years, primarily with a decrease in formal vocal prayer and an increase of intention and contemplative prayer. Do I recognize that all prayer has merit? And, I asked myself, although I try to pray with intention, how universal are the intentions for which I pray? For example, I may pray for our country or peace in the world but do I ever pray for politicians or church leaders by name? What about people for whom I hold no affection? Are they not in need of my prayer also? And might I not be changed by praying for those same individuals? What about praying for myself? Do I prepare for my prayer time by quieting myself and bringing my body, mind and spirit into oneness as much as possible? And do I give thanks at the conclusion of my prayer? So many questions…It’s a good reflection on willingness.
Today seems like a good time to start praying in a conscious, loving way for our President, the Congress, leaders of the military and those charged with public safety. That’s a big order. The first step will be a short prayer called “Yes.”