Sunday, January 30, 2011

St. John Neumann Ministry of Prayer

Contacts:
Parish Office: 412-366-2020
Kathy Buzzard 412-366-0781
Email: sjnprayer@gmail.com

The St. John Neumann Ministry of Prayer is intended to motivate everyone in the St. John Neumann parish community to pray each day for parishioners and family and friends of parishioners. 
All in the Parish are encouraged to check this website often and respond to Christ's challenge to "Pray always and never lose heart" (Lk 18:1).

The ministry operates through e-mail, this blog and through phone contact.

Prayer requests can be made either by sending an email to sjnprayer@gmail.com, phoning the Parish Office, or calling Kathy Buzzard.  Please provide the following information.

1. Your Name.
2. Your Phone number.
3. The name of the person for whom the prayer is needed.
4. If you'd like a card sent to the person for whom prayer is needed, please include the address of the person for whom the prayer is needed.
5. A sentence indicating that you have checked with him/her and it is OK with that person to add him/her to the SJN Prayer List.

6. Whether that person is a member of St. John Neumann.
7. The prayer intention.

The person in need of prayer NEED NOT be a member of St. John Neumann parish. New names are added every week.  Please notify us to maintain someone on the prayer list for more than one year, or they will automatically be removed.  Contact us at:   sjnprayer@gmail.com.

May God richly bless all of those on our prayer list.

Prayer for those who have died

God our Father, Your power brings us to birth,Your providence guides our lives, and by Your command we return to dust.
Lord, those who die still live in Your presence,their lives change but do not end. We pray in hope for our family, relatives and friends.
In company with Christ, Who died and now lives, may they rejoice in Your kingdom, where all our tears are wiped away. Unite us together again in one family, to sing Your praise forever and ever.Amen.

The Power of My Prayer List by Ed Block

I’m still discovering all the benefits of praying for others

BY ED BLOCK (Reproduced here with permission of the author)

In John Hassler’s 1990 novel North of Hope, a kindly pastor, Monsignor Adrian Lawrence, tells the protagonist, Father Frank Healy, “I am currently praying for 705 departed souls.” Frank replies, “That’s too many, Adrian.”

Though few of us probably have as many intentions as Monsignor Lawrence, many of us have lists of family and friends for whom we pray. I keep my list in my Book of Hours, but I also have a list that is updated monthly.

I am part of a prayer network organized by the parish that my family attended where we used to live. I have been praying for years with and for people from that parish. Every month I receive a list of the living for whom members of the prayer network are asked to pray, and another list of those “born to eternal life.” Many of the names on the living list appear, in time, on the born-to-eternal-life list. I add both to my personal list and pray for each person every morning.

Praying for others, even those I’ve never met, gives me a personal sense of the mystery and efficacy of prayer. The New Testament assures us that our prayers are heard: “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you will receive it, and you will” (Mark 11:24).

C.S. Lewis’ Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, which I’ve read several times, has helped me understand the power of prayer. (Letter VII is particularly good.) For instance, I like what Lewis says about the need to pray for things both great and small: “Perhaps, as those who do not turn to God in petty trials will have no habit ... to help them when the great trials come, so those who have not learned to ask Him for childish things will have less readiness to ask Him for great ones.”

We believe on faith that our prayers are heard. As it says in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “We know that God hears the prayer inspired by steadfast faith.” But what constitutes an answer? We all know of instances when tumors unaccountably disappear or longtime alcoholics dry out and never drink again. But were these events the result of prayer? Again, from my own experience: One person for whom I was praying got the job of her dreams; another, the husband of a former student, recovered from a dread disease. Did these things happen because of my prayers? I really don’t need to know. The joy of the news, in each case, was its own reward.

I had been apprehensive about prayers of petition ever since I read an article by Michael Novak titled “Gimme is dead.” But C.S. Lewis reassured me that the Gospels encourage prayers of petition as much as prayers of gratitude or praise.

I generally start by praying the psalms of the day, most of which are prayers of praise, gratitude, or wonder. In that way I balance the prayers of petition with those of thanksgiving, praise, or contrition. Praying for those I don’t know, and whose intentions are equally unknown to me, “de-centers” selfish prayers and underlines the mystery of prayer. I must have faith I will be heard.

Lewis says unequivocally: “Of course I pray for the dead. I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden.” Praying down the list of those born to eternal life gives me a sense of the impermanence of life, but also the enduring power of memory, faith, and God’s abiding love.

I find that praying for people I don’t know, or know little, is a way of expanding my spiritual horizons. In doing so I also find myself in good company. For years Dorothy Day kept lists of people for whom she prayed.

Some months ago the parish list came with a special plea. One of those for whom we were asked to pray was a longtime member of the prayer network. Though I didn’t know the person, I felt a bond because — unbeknownst to either of us — we had been praying together for years.

Like Monsignor Lawrence’s, my list is always threatening to lengthen excessively. But as I pray for all those people — although never the 705 that Monsignor Lawrence tried to pray for — I realize, in a small way, another meaning of “the communion of saints.”

Prayer for those who are in Need

Memorare

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thine intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy clemency hear and answer me. Amen.

Prayer for those who are Sick

Dear Jesus, Divine Physician and Healer of the sick, we turn to you in this time of illness. O dearest comforter of the troubled, alleviate our worry and sorrow with your gentle love, and grant us the grace and strength to accept this burden. Dear God, we place our worries in your hands. We place our sick under your care and humbly ask that you restore your servant to health again. Above all, grant us the grace to acknowledge your will and know that whatever you do, you do for the love of us. Amen.