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?