I think I have heard this request a thousand times: “Pray for me.” I ask people to pray for me frequently. What is the meaning behind these words? What are the assumptions that are hidden from others yet are the so-called elephant in the room?
In my view of reality, I always begin by quoting the following Scripture in Ephesians 4.
Unity in the Body.1* I, then, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to live in a manner worthy of the call you have received,a2with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another through love,b3striving to preserve the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace:c4* one body and one Spirit, as you were also called to the one hope of your call;d5one Lord, one faith, one baptism;e6one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.f
These are the seven unities that form the basis of how I link all reality together. The seven unities also describe The Christ Principle, one Word (John 1:1) that links all reality. As St. Paul writes: “..who is over all and through all and in all.” This linking is important for me when I ask someone to pray for me. When we pray, there is only one Jesus, and all of us must go through, with, and in Him, as we offer honor and glory to the Father. Jesus is the end-user of my prayer because only Jesus can approach the Father on my behalf.
When someone asks me to pray for them and their intentions, I add them to my list of those written in my book of life (each person has such a book), and when I raise my mind and heart to God, they are raised up also as part of my process. Prayer simply means I communicate with God (through Christ) by the energy of the Holy Spirit. I do this in Lectio Divina, Liturgy of the Hours, but especially in the holy sacrifice of the Eucharist, where I take Jesus inside me and receive God’s energy to help me transform myself from sinful self to grace-filled self.
When I say “my prayers are your prayers” to the request of someone who asks me to remember them or a loved one in prayer, I don’t just “say a prayer” for them. I add them to the whole day, each day from this time forward, in every expression of love and peace for others.
Here, the meaning of one Lord, one Father, one Baptism comes into play. It is only because Christ loved me first that I can even say Jesus is Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit. I make a choice to put Christ first, then wait for whatever comes in each day to compel me forward. When I join others in my prayer, it becomes “we” and not just “me.” I use the golden thread I received from Christ at Baptism to link them and their intentions to my own and these I offer to the Father in glory and honor.
Church becomes the community in my lifespan of seventy or eighty years where I link as many people to the heart of Christ as I can remember to do. I link my life and all its successes and failures to that of those for whom I pray. Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery (Trappist) let us know if they need our prayers through the Internet Email. This is not something I treat as though it was an advertisement from Amazon. I consciously make a choice to be one with the person for whom I pray, and WE present ourselves to the Father through, with, and in Christ, in all that we do each day for the rest of my life.