Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Prayer Rolls

My mama taught me how to pray - at bedtime. Every night:
"Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."

At the time, I didn't think that was strange or even (just a little bit) creepy. Most of my friends said the same prayer. Except my Catholic friends, they got to do the Rosary. They could pray for hours. I know; we had a competition once. They could pray MUCH longer than I could!

We didn't pray at meal time when I was growing up. Other families did, but my family was, how shall I say, not particularly religious. Only for special occasions; in other words, just for show.

When I grew up and married, I had found and joined the church and wanted to raise my family properly. So among other things, we taught our children to pray. How, when and why. Like all parents, we did the best we could and hoped (and prayed) for the best. Our children are great; I hope the emotional scars don't go too deep.

But recently I've been thinking about those prayers that are not for me and mine. I've had friends ask me to remember them in my prayers. When there is a tragedy in someone's life I send my thoughts and prayers. Facebook is great for that! But the actual prayer? I don't know if I'm doing it effectively, or even appropriately sometimes.

I started writing this post days ago, but the tragedy in Haiti brought it to mind in a big way. I've heard many people, including the President, say that we will keep the people of Haiti in our prayers. My question. How do you keep acquaintances and strangers in your prayers?

We pray frequently for the sick and afflicted. That's a generic term; we don't have anyone specific in mind. But with these prayer requests - real people, even when we don't know their names. Do you keep an actual prayer roll, a list of people for whom you are praying? Do you just remember them without any prompting? Do you pray only for those people that are close to you?

And what do you ask for? Complete healing, comfort, whatever is necessary? For bad stuff to be undone? That has to occur to you sometimes, but I don't think the earthquake will go away.

So help me out on this.... how does your prayer roll work?


Sylvia said...

Hmm... lots of good questions... And the thought that comes to my mind is that Enos is an excellent example of prayer. He began by praying for himself, then his brethren, the Nephites, then the Lamanites, who not friendly at all, but he prayed for them. I think he's a great example to learn from... hope that helps! :) Me personally, if it's a specific person, I use their name, pray for them to have comfort and peace during the time of trouble, and strength to endure.

Elaine said...

I tried keeping a prayer roll in a notebook a few years back, but I lost it. Imagine. :) I have since found it, so maybe I need to try again. I've tried keeping a prayer roll on my blog, but that only works for people who are blogging about their trials and don't mind the whole world seeing. Plus? I haven't bothered updating it in months and months and months. So another fail. Now I just try to say a prayer for whoever needs help as soon as I can after finding out about a situation, but that isn't always effective since sometimes asap comes hours later and I am tired and my brain is foggy. I'm no help, see? I need a better system, too.

Lilola said...

"I usually try and pray for people by name, if I know them, if not, then I will say, "the people of Haiti" and usually I just pray for them to have the strength to accept the Lord's will, and not use this trial as an excuse to reject Him. I actually have some friends who were working in Haiti during the quake, so I prayed for them by name, and I prayed for their families. "

"Ilona, we've been praying they will be able to endure. That those who are first responders will have the strength and insight to bring aide to them quickly. We've been praying they have adequate water and shelter and that some type of food is available to sustain them until help arrives. We've prayed the Spirit would be there to ignite the deisre to work together to repair the devastation and that the government would cease it's corrupt activities and guide the people in a safer re-building. And we've prayed they would not be afraid and feel the arms of love from their Father in Heaven. I try to keep these things in my heart and mind all day. It is about all I can do right now."