All too often, it is common for someone to utter the words, “will you pray for me/us?” It is usually tacked to the end of, or the beginning of, an explanation of how hard things are in that person’s life. And, all too often, the response is, “of course I will pray for you!” Or, “you’ll be in our thoughts and prayers.”
What I noticed a while back was that I would say “you’ll be in my thoughts and prayers,” and then by the time prayers rolled around, I couldn’t remember what I was going to pray for – I blame my cognitive impairment most days!
Using the Rosary for my prayer intentions actually helped me remember individual prayer intentions quite a bit. However, I don’t always pray the Rosary. So, what am I to do when I have a ton of prayer intentions for others, and not enough memory space in my brain?
My current “go to,” with prayer for others is to include something at the end of prayers to say, “and for all the prayers I hold in my heart, that my head does not remember, God you know those prayers and intentions.” There are times that I am sitting there, struggling to remember, when the prayer is on the tip of my tongue, but I just can’t recall the name or the exact situation (these are typically for people that I have met only briefly, and/or don’t know by name). I will say, “God – you know… the intention I was supposed to pray for, for that one lady/guy. You know!”
When I pray for others, I don’t like to say it out loud with them, although it can have a calming effect on the petitioner. I find I am able to focus more on the words I am saying, and the prayer itself, when it is internal instead of external. I always admire those who are comfortable with praying spontaneously over someone asking for prayers, but that is not a gift I possess. Therefore, know, if I am being asked for prayers, I typically won’t start praying aloud right then and there – I retreat into my head and heart and say the prayer silently.
Lastly, remembering those people in my prayers immediately as they are requesting them is also a useful tool to ensure I have prayed for them. This serves a two-fold purpose: it allows me to make sure I have said a prayer for the petitioner, with all the circumstances fresh in my mind. Secondly, it then allows me to hone my skills on spending more time in prayer throughout the day. There is actually a saying to the effect of, “spend all your days in prayer.” This is a tricky skill to learn, and takes a lot of practice. But, it is a worthy task, and I believe immediately praying for a person will enhance my spiritual life.
How do you remember all the prayer requests and persons requesting the prayers? Do you have a preferred method of praying for intentions – immediately and out loud, immediately and silently, or during a set prayer time each day?