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.”