Say your prayers

Several weeks ago I made an unfulfilled promise that I would be doing something different in this space on Fridays. October turned out to be so emotionally draining that I just couldn't get to a place where it felt right to try something new. But really there's a much deeper reason for why I put it off...

My sister and I have been talking for months about how we can best use our time and talent to share our faith life with others. Neither of us are working at conventional jobs at the moment and we both felt like there had to be a way to shift wasteful time spent online into something more meaningful. Coincidentally, I had been feeling for a while that What Keeps Me Going Fridays was losing its luster and I was ready for a change.

After some consideration I decided to do a prayer request Friday to feed my spiritual need and offer a way for people to connect through the simple power of prayer. Then my friend suddenly passed away and I was left feeling completely broken.

Unfortunately I am no stranger to losing a loved one long before her time. Another very good friend of mine lost her battle with cancer two days after her 21st birthday. That grief was like no other I had ever experienced and it took one year, some anti-depressants, my relationship and so much more to make it through. Something I had forgotten was how much that experience impacted my faith as well.

I completely forgot that after Adrienne died, for a time I could not pray. I would try and try and sit with my heart aching, longing for something to come to me--any words that would find their way up to heaven. Nothing. The only place I felt like I could really convey my pain to God was in a church. For months I cried in my pew every single Sunday. Silently, but with tears streaming down my cheeks, I sat with hundreds of people around me singing, reading and listening to powerful words. I cried.

Very quickly after learning that Lisa had left this world, I was reminded of that very feeling. How strange that the time when I needed to cling to God the most, I felt like I had nothing at all to say to Him. It wasn't because I was angry at Him, because I don't feel like death is ever His fault. I think that in those times I felt such incredible pain, sadness and shock that I was totally focused on my loss. I was too busy looking in at the wretched ache inside me that I could not look up.

But in a space of worship, surrounded by those who were able to feel joy and the presence of Our Lord, I could not turn away. The overwhelming warmth and embrace that came over me in that space was truly incredible--it only brought tears. I think that in that time God showed me that I really didn't need to say anything at all. When I was in the deepest pain I had ever known, He knew.

Even now, my eyes are wet with that understanding. When I had no words to pray, it was still OK because He knew my heart and all the things I wanted to say and ask for, but somehow couldn't. The first Sunday I attended Mass after Lisa's passing I knew what to expect and it played out just as I thought it would. Not long before we went up to receive The Eucharist, it hit me. I held Lena in my arms and let the tears flow.

When Mass was over, I went to light candles for Lisa and her son, Thomas. I desperately wanted to pray for Lisa; that she be welcomed into heaven so she could feel no more pain. I wanted to pray for her 10-month-old son: his well-being, the life he has ahead of him without his mother and that he be wrapped in so much love that he may understand how much his mom truly loved him. Where were my words? While kneeling before Our Holy Mother, I saw a prayer card with words I had never seen before.

At the end of the prayer it said, "Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands." How fitting that the very issues I was holding so close were relating to motherhood and the mothering of a child who had just lost his. In the belief that Mary is our greatest intercessor to God, I clung to those words and my intentions were brought up from the void in my gut to my sore heart and lifted from me. In that moment, I felt a huge weight was taken from my soul. I rose up from my knees and walked away to find my family, feeling an overwhelming sense of peace.

Since then, I have had no trouble going back to my normal prayer life. My hiatus from talking with God didn't last nearly as long as it had years ago. There are so many reasons for why I think that is, but I'm not ready to explore them just yet.

All of this leads me to today and what I hope will be a deep, yet simple weekly connection for anyone who wishes to participate.

Here's how it works: Leave a prayer request in the comments on Friday's posts. It can be anything--something you are thankful for, a friend you are worried about, a desire from your heart... Anything. By leaving a comment you are also committing to pray for others who comment as well. We'll start fresh each week. That's it. You can even be anonymous if you wish.

My prayer this week is for this to serve as a way for us to connect with one another and with God. I pray that this will extend beyond our faith bases and allow us to find community and peace knowing that so many others are holding our causes for us as well.

Eventually I'd like to come up with a snazzy title for these Fridays and maybe create a cute icon that you can post to encourage others to join us in this venture. Someday. But I didn't want to wait for that creative bug in order to get this ball rolling. Stay tuned...


Amanda Salyer said...

I pray that I find peace with my relationship with the Lord and that the decision of where I belong is aided by my prayers. This is a wonderful thing you are doing Sara.

Shawna said...

I'm praying for my mother, Linda, who is waiting on results from some biopsy samples. And, of course, I am praying for a wonderful lady named Sara and her family.

Antoinette said...

Hi Sara,
I've been following your blog for a little while and think you are a great writer and mother. I have two little boys (not so little -- 7 and 4) and know all of the trials and tribs. of the SAHM!
It's so fitting that you write about prayer today because in the recent past, I have felt such a strong desire to become more in tune w/my Catholicism. In fact, I will be attending confession tomorrow after having not gone for years and I'm so nervous and excited at the same time!
I think the power of prayer and faith is incredibly important in our lives -- I'm just "rediscovering" mine. Anyhow, thanks for starting this weekly retreat of prayer. It's a great idea!

I am requesting a prayer for my sons and they adjust to a new school this year and I hope that they begin to feel a sense of belonging in their environment.


Kerry said...

Oh Sara, I have just been feeling lately like I don't have the words I need. Thank you for being able to express this and for sharing your experience. It sure makes me feel a lot better. I am not alone. I know that and I feel it.

I am requesting a prayer for my mom who is undergoing another scan tomorrow. She is hoping for no more spread of her cancer and for the ability to make it to my brother's wedding in May.

em said...

Thank you for sharing and starting this space. I'm thankful for His love that allows us to pull each other through.

I would like to pray for everyone who has a dream in this life, a goal or a hope. That they may find that dream in His will, or find peace in Him without it.

love you darling, em

Anonymous said...

Thank you Sara for your words. I stumbled on your blog a few months back and I am hoping it was suppose to be for a reason. I have been trying to find my way to the Lord for guidance in my life. I am caring for 4 elderly parents and a disabled son. Please pray for me to stay in His shadow and find my way so I continue to have the strength.

sara said...

All of your thoughts and prayers are so touching. I feel so grateful to be able to lift you up and know that you're doing the same for me. Peace to you all this week...

Kristi Jones Falconberry said...

I meant to leave this on Friday, but the day was a little hectic. I am praying for my dad, who at 58, had 5 by-pass heart surgery on Friday the 5th. It was so awesome you posted this that day, as we were praying for this unexpected surgery to go smoothly and a speedy recover. I myself have slacked lately with my walk with God and needed this. Thank you for your blog as I, also a SAHM, enjoy reading it daily.