Advent Challenge – Day 8 – Praying for Others
As we prepare our hearts for the birth of Christ, it is always beneficial to remind ourselves of not just our own needs, but the needs of others. One way we can do this is to pray for others.
This year at our parish, the children who were preparing to make their First Confession and First Communion, each decorated a heart, put their name on it and placed it on the bare tree at the front of the church . . . some parishes often dub it the “Giving Tree”, but that reminds me too much of the children’s book and I half expect it to be a stump come Christmas time.
Parishoners were then asked to take a heart and pray for that child over the course of Advent as they prepared for these two Sacraments. I thought that was a fantastic idea, so my son carefully picked out a heart for us to take home.
We’ve hung the heart on our Jesse tree, and have made it a regular part of our daily Advent routine once we’ve hung our ornament for the day on the Jesse tree. It’s only been a week, but my son dutifully reminds me each day after we hang the ornament that it’s time to “pray for Sarah”, and he kneels beside me as we ask the Heavenly Father to prepare her heart to receive Jesus.
Is there someone in your life who could use some prayers at this time? Praying for others in our parish community strengthens it, and anonymous prayer is wonderful, because it’s selfless, and if you have children, it’s a great way to teach them the value of daily prayer, and intercessory prayer. Next time you’re at Mass, choose someone you see, maybe it’s someone you know, maybe it’s just someone who catches your eye, or choose to pray for your priest! It doesn’t matter whether or not you know what their needs are, just ask for God to bless them and provide for them during this time. Below is a simple prayer you could use:
Gracious Father, please bless the lady who smiled at me during Mass today. Fill her heart during this time of Advent with Your love, and bless her and her family this Christmas. Please provide for her in whatever her needs may be and help her to carry any crosses she may have in her life.
Adjust the prayer as it fits your situation. When God calls you home, you will finally see what a blessing those prayers were to that person without you even knowing it, or them even knowing who was their intercessor!
What else we did for Advent today: