On Friday I spoke with Glen Lewerenz on Morning Air about concrete steps we can take to make the most of the Sabbath: to pray, feast, rest and thank God for all He’s given us. My favorite part was explaining how God has given us Sunday as a gift, and how I believe He delights in our delighting in His day. Also, I should have have asked Glen what kind of toppings they put on their homemade pizzas, but I am confident there will be another opportunity. You can listen here starting around the 24:12 mark.
Yesterday I took a mini road trip with some gal pals to a scenic town in Northern Virginia. We talked a lot about prayer on the ride there, and my friend Sara shared an insight I find fascinating. As she told us, “God is outside time.” This is a phrase I have heard before, but she explained it in a new way, as it relates to prayer: if God is outside time, the prayers we offer him now can impact other periods of times. For example, you can pray now for someone’s children - that they haven’t had yet. But also, your prayer can flow retroactively - for the resolution of a conflict in your past. Why would God not work in that way? If you pray, for example, for your parents’ marriage now, could it not be that today’s prayers were working ten years ago? Do you think? Is that not astonishing but obvious?
We also talked about purgatory and the ability of souls there to pray (for others, not themselves, as it turns out). You know, regular ol’ girly road trip conversation.
I also wondered, if you pray for someone a lot - like a whole lot - is there something that changes between you, even if the prayer is not directly, specifically answered the way you want it to (or if you do not know the result of the prayer)? Can prayer bond two people? As an example, if you “adopted” an orphan in another country and sent money each month for that child’s needs, and also prayed for her, though you never met, wouldn’t that act of praying for her bond your souls in some particular way? It is something I am thinking about. I don’t know what the answer is, but I think it’s yes.
Of course, that sort of intense intercessory prayer need to not occur across oceans; most of the people around us in our everyday lives need prayer (especially if they are disconnected from a faith community and do not have others praying for them. Don’t go asking them about that, though; that’s rude). It reminds me of another thing from this week: I was speaking with Fr. Kelley, my esteemed Jesuit spiritual director (dang those Jesuits understand prayer) and he reminded me we are not to look for crosses in life - they are already present. And usually, found in the people closest to you, the tough relationships and miscommunications of family and friends. Those are abundant opportunities for mortification and humility. Definitely don’t need to go seeking out other opportunities.
So in other words, keep praying, especially for those closest to you. Be their intercessor. Don’t look for what it will get you, though. Our job is to pray, not to tell God how to answer it.