4 Ways to Be a Better Intercessor

Carlos Overstreet's picture

"There is nothing more worthwhile than to pray to God and to converse with him, for prayer unites us with God as his companions,” says Saint John Chrysostom. Prayer is the center of the Christian life. In fact, without it, we cannot be saved. It is only through prayer that we open ourselves to the Holy Spirit, whose indwelling within us, raises us out of our fallen past and into the light; a relationship with Christ.

So often though we are bombarded with the injunction to Pray, Pray, Pray for just about everything. For this cause, or that person and sometimes for the most trivial of things: “Bro, PLEASE pray for me that I pass this bio test. I need at least a 50 to make the curve!” But, perhaps on a more serious note, say that a friend comes to you full of grief and asks for your prayer to help him out of his despair. And you say yes, of course, knowing full well you rarely pray more than once for these sorts of things. Too often we say we’ll pray for this or that, and then out of forgetfulness, laziness, or ineptitude we let slip that promise we made. How often do we begin to pray for one thing, and soon, three days, or maybe even the next morning, forget to pray for that which we committed ourselves to?

Saint Paul in his epistle to Saint Timothy reminds us that we shouldn’t think just about our own affairs, but to always be mindful of our brothers, and the world at large: "Therefore, I beg of you that before all things, you will offer to God your supplications, intercessions and thanksgiving, for the sake of all people..." (1 Tim 2:1)

Here are some suggestions that can help you keep Saint Paul’s exhortation.

1) Liturgy - Always do your utmost to attend as many as you can. The prayers, especially of the faithful and intercessory litanies are helpful in bringing our minds and hearts back to those people and things which we should always be praying for.

2) The Rosary - How many times has our Lady come to us through the years and said, she is always ready to intercede with us and for us? In fact before Saint Dominic, it was said that this was an injunction that all Christians fulfilled since at least the sixth century.

3) The Psalter - Where else can you find a more perfect cry of the Church? “Let my prayer arise as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.” (Psalm 141:2) Saint Basil the Great considered the psalms to be the medicine for every wound and every hurt we may encounter. So crack open the book of psalms and give them a go around.

4) Pope Francis' Five Finger Prayer - If you are still not sure, this one is incredibly easy so long as you actually practice it. Essentially, using the fingers on your hand, you give them associations so you can recall them during prayer : the poor, the sick, our clergy, friends & family, our government officials (yes even Obama deserves our prayer) and anyone else who comes to mind in the groups described. I found this tool incredibly helpful when on the road. Tag this onto your personal prayer rule and Bam, you have yourself a solid foundation for prayer.

Develop a good prayer life, and you will have less of those “Oh shoot, I forgot to pray for Tim’s mom who has cancer” days. God Bless!

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