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Friday, March 30, 2012

Pray for Families (Forgiveness & Healing)

Dear Prayer Warriors,

The other day I went to the movies with a friend and saw a really good one called October Baby. “Finally,” I thought, “a movie where the Christian characters are believable, relatable, and beautifully human!”

The theme of the movie was that healing begins with love and forgiveness.

While we don’t feel like loving the unlovable one, we imagine that we are always lovable. We don’t want to forgive those who have hurt us deeply, yet we want to be forgiven when we hurt others. We delude ourselves into thinking that our anger hurts the offender. But in time, we realize that our anger is like a cancer within us. It prevents us from healing. It prevents us from loving.

There was a line in the movie that I loved: “To be human is to be beautifully flawed.”

Flawed, yet simultaneously beautiful! Christ loves us for who we are and who he made us to be. Beauty is revealed when we realize that each of us was made in the image and likeness of Christ. Our role is to strive to imitate Him in our behavior.

You formed my inmost being; you knit me in my mother’s womb. I praise you, because I am wonderfully made; wonderful are your works! Psalm 139:13-14

Once we understand how completely we are knit to Christ, we are compelled to love and forgive as He did.

This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35

Spend some time contemplating whom in your family you should love and forgive. Then put your thoughts into action. Let the healing begin.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Love + Forgiveness = Healing. Pass it on.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Pray for Marriages (Wives)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Last week we prayed for husbands, asking them to look at the life of St. Joseph as an inspiration. Today, on the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord, the scene of the Virgin Mary’s fiat, we pray for wives. As we pray, let us take our inspiration from the blessed life of the Virgin Mother.

There is such beauty in Mary’s total, unequivocal, “yes!” to the Lord. She held nothing back. If she were a poker player, she would have been “all in!” so confidant was she in her response.

"Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." Luke 1:38

Who cannot be in awe of her complete, faith-filled, blind surrender to the Lord?

As daughters of our heavenly King, let us first meditate on Mary’s relationship with the Lord: submissive, obedient, docile, full of grace, self-denying, and refulgent.

As a wife and mother, the Mary was humble, kind, generous, selfless, chaste, patient, holy, joyful, gentle, steadfast, loving, pure, devoted, long-suffering, a confidante, and a friend.

And Mary said: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord; my spirit rejoices in God my savior. For he has looked upon his handmaid's lowliness; behold, from now on will all ages call me blessed. The Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. Luke 1:46-49

If you are a woman, challenge yourself to imitate Mary. If you are a man, encourage all the women in your life to imitate her virtues. If you are a husband, grow in virtue alongside your wife. Please keep all these women in prayer.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Be countercultural. Encourage others to grow in virtue. Pass it on.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Pray for Families (The power of prayer)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Day by day, week in and week out, month by month, year by year, we have prayed. Does all this prayer help? Those blind in faith may not see, because what is painfully visible are marriages disintegrating and families feuding. One quickly learns that God’s ways are not our ways. But those who have faith know that despite the struggles of others as well as our own, and despite the incomprehensibility of some of those struggles, there will be a resurrection. Prayer has greater power than any earthly weapon, but one must use it to bear fruit.

In a time where our government is exercising more control over our lives and those of our family, where children can have government subsidized medical procedures without our knowledge, where the definition of marriage as defined by God is being challenged, in an age where religious freedom could be a thing of the past, in a time where God is being purged from the textbooks in our public schools, we must hold tight to the most powerful weapon in our grasp and use it unceasingly: prayer. This beautiful weapon can be used anytime, anywhere, by anyone. Use, and encourage use of this heavenly sword.

When they came to the crowd a man approached, knelt down before him, and said, "Lord, have pity on my son, for he is a lunatic and suffers severely; often he falls into fire, and often into water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not cure him." Jesus said in reply, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long will I be with you? How long will I endure you? Bring him here to me." Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured. Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" He said to them, "Because of your little faith. Amen, I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." Matthew 17:14-20

Heavenly Father, help our family to grow in faith. With that increase in faith, may our prayers move what seem to be the insurmountable mountains of our lives. May our simple prayer, “Jesus, I trust in You”, be a most pleasing and efficacious assent. Pour out Your love and mercy upon us that we may be strengthened to persevere in prayer. We humbly ask this in your most precious name. Amen.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

To increase the prayers we must increase the army. Pass it on.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Pray for Marriages (Husbands)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

On this feast of St Joseph, I have been contemplating his life. His is not really talked about in the bible outside of the Infant Narrative. I imagine that, in his great humility, he wouldn’t have had it any other way. Yet without St. Joseph who loved, sheltered, and protected both the Blessed Mother and the Christ-child, we might not have the Redeemer, the Bread of Heaven, the Blessed Sacrament.

Using the life of St Joseph as an inspiration, pray for husbands today and all week long. Take some time to contemplate St. Joseph’s character and virtues:

Obedient, protective, loving, humble, unselfish, consoling, long-suffering, hard-working, holy, consecrated to Christ, cooperative with the Holy Spirit, head of the Holy Family, servant of Christ, disciple, devoted, virtuous, faithful, poor, sympathetic, prayerful.

Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. Matthew 1:19-24

Pass this on and challenge all the men that you know to imitate his virtues. Don’t forget to pray for all of them!

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Encourage someone to lead a virtuous life. Pass it on.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Pray for Families (Gift of Community)

Greetings Prayer Angels,

Usually in adulthood, we finally come to the realization of how little control we have over our lives. Everyone has experienced the uncertainty created by events they never dreamed of: divorce, death, health issues, foreclosure, and even incarceration. But then there are the paths that we freely chose, the ones that initially look quite appealing, until down the road we see signs that read, “Perdition this way -->”

No matter what path you’re on, there are times when you would prefer to just go and hibernate, hoping that all of life’s miseries would pass you by. But luckily Christ showed us a better way. He surrounded himself by those he loved and trusted. He encouraged community, and for a very good reason; so that we can love, serve and nurture one another through our lowest points. By imitating Christ, we will learn that if we both give and receive His love through one another, we will be brought back into His light. As Christians, it is our call to open ourselves to the continual giving and receiving of His love in it’s many different forms.

He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners, to announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn. Isaiah 61:1-2

Pray by your actions. Take some time to perform a corporal or spiritual work of mercy to one in need.

Feed the hungry; Give drink to the thirsty; Clothe the naked; Harbor the harborless; Visit the sick; Ransom the captive; Bury the dead.

Instruct the ignorant; Counsel the doubtful; Admonish sinners; Bear wrongs patiently; Forgive offenses willingly; Comfort the afflicted; Pray for the living and the dead.

Open arms allow you to both give and receive. Let the healing begin.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Invite some one to receive His love. Pass it on.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Pray for Marriages (Kiss the Cross)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

I haven’t always found the image of he cross or crucifix beautiful, but due to an outpouring of grace, I do now. When I look at the cross, I see 4 “L’s” coming together, meeting in the center. Any which way I look at it, those “L’s” remind me of Love. Looking upon Christ on the crucifix I see nothing but beautiful, self-sacrificing, pure love, poured out just for me. Mercy!

No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:13

Since the cross is our only means of salvation, as Christians, we must learn to embrace it.

The people in Herzegovina, Croatia seem to deeply understand the power of the cross. They have a beautiful tradition whereby they integrate the crucifix into to the marriage ceremony, and the result, in one small town, has been zero divorces among its 13,000 inhabitants. Here is what they do.

“When the bride and groom set off for the church, they bring a crucifix with them. The priest blesses the crucifix, which takes on a central role during the exchange of vows. The bride places her right hand on the crucifix and the groom places his hand over hers. Thus the two hands are bound together on the cross. The priest covers their hands with his stole as they proclaim their vows to be faithful, according to the rites of the Church. The bride and groom do not then kiss each other, they rather kiss the cross. They know that they are kissing the source of love. Anyone close enough to see their two hands joined over the cross understands clearly that if the husband abandons his wife or if the wife abandons her husband, they let go of the cross. And if they abandon the cross, they have nothing left. They have lost everything for they have abandoned Jesus. They have lost Jesus.

After the ceremony, the newlyweds bring the crucifix back and give it a place of honor in their home. It becomes the focal point of family prayer, for the young couple believes deeply that the family is born of the Cross. When a trouble arises, or if a conflict breaks out, it is before this cross that they will seek help.”

As Christ tells us:
I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. John 13:34

Pray for all marriages, that they are given the courage to never let go of the cross.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Invite someone to kiss the cross in a sacrifice of prayer. Pass it on.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Pray for Families (What faith can do)

Greetings Prayer Warriors!

Listening to the radio the other day, I heard the lyrics, “You’ve gotta face the clouds, to find the silver lining.” The words were so full of hope and optimism that they just grabbed me. Not surprisingly, the song title was “What Faith Can Do”. Isn’t that what we are called to do, keep the faith and remain positively full of hope, knowing that Christ has his hand in every situation?

Reflecting on how that applies to the family, we know that there will be clouds; we only have to have faith that there will be a “Son-break”, eventually resulting in "Son-Shine". But we are weak and hate the grayness of cloud cover. We don’t like the crosses that we carry. We are too focused on their weight and not on the fact that they will lead us to a personal resurrection.

They strengthened the spirits of the disciples and exhorted them to persevere in the faith, saying, "It is necessary for us to undergo many hardships to enter the kingdom of God."
Acts 14:22

This is why we support each other in prayer. That each one of us, each member of our family, each member of the Body of Christ, will have the strength to carry their crosses. With faith, we also pray that all of us will have the eyes, to not only see the glory of His Resurrection as the result of the cross, but also the eternal life He is calling us to.

And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever possesses the Son has life; whoever does not possess the Son of God does not have life. 1 John 5:11-12

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Help increase the faith and hope of a friend. Share the good news and pass it on.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Pray for Marriages (Random Acts of Kindness)

Greeting Prayer Warriors,

Have you ever known what the right, proper, appropriate thing was to do in a given situation, but just didn't feel like doing it?

During Lent, let's look at how that applies to your marriage/life.  Take the time to self-evaluate what good behaviors are missing from your life.   Spend this week doing random acts of kindness in your marriage/life.   Contemplate the joy one feels when they are unexpectedly delighted.  See how many smiles you can elicit. :) :) :)

Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in faith. Test yourselves. Do you not realize that Jesus Christ is in you? - unless, of course, you fail the test. 2 Cor 13:5

Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if one has a grievance against another; as the Lord has forgiven you, so must you also do. And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection.  And let the peace of Christ control your hearts, the peace into which you were also called in one body. And be thankful.  Col 3:12-15

Pray for all marriages, that each spouse has the courage to do what's right and righteous in the eyes of God.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Inspire random acts of kindness.   Pass it on.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Pray for Families (Open to His will)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

As you all know, this blog is a spiritual one of prayer. So as you read on, you may wonder about the content. Let me first explain. Many believe there is a major political battle going on right now, but I see it as a spiritual one. Satan, the “Father of Lies” has insidiously been influencing our culture. Marriage, family, and children are his prey and his impact on the culture is undeniable.

When the battle is spiritual, the best weapon is prayer. But we are also called to action: to speak the truth, to speak out about injustices, and to protect the vulnerable.

The following kept coming to me this week. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; John 1:3-4

Intrigued, I decided to reread the Declaration of Independence. What I read stuck me as very profound, and as pertinent today as it was in 1776. I have included an excerpt below. Read it slowly to absorb the impact of it’s meaning.

“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

They promise them freedom, though they themselves are slaves of corruption, for a person is a slave of whatever overcomes him. 2 Peter 2:19

Do not be afraid. Go on speaking, and do not be silent, for I am with you. Act 18: 9-10

If you remain indifferent in time of adversity, your strength will depart from you. Proverbs 24:10

Pray. Pray for our nation, pray for our leaders. Pray that you and your family will be open to the will of God in your lives, and that you remain attentive to the Lords’s call to action. Teach your biologic and spiritual children the Gospel messages, and pray for our future generations.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Fortify the army, recruit a warrior. Pass it on.