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Friday, October 31, 2014

Pray for Families (Remembering Dear Souls)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

In speaking with friends, many worry about some of their deceased relatives and wonder about the state of their souls at death.  One will never know the internal desires of a loved one’s soul at the moment their body passes from life to death, but we are assured of our Lord’s unfathomably mercy.  If the Lord pursues us relentlessly in life, how much more He must pursue our souls at the moment of our death!

In St. Faustina’s Diary*, through the revelations God granted her, one can read of the Lord’s endless pursuit of a despairing soul.  Grace upon grace was poured upon the soul. 

“O soul steeped in darkness, do not despair. All is not yet lost. Come and confide in your God, who is love and mercy.” (1486)

This is consistent with what we read in scripture.

But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love he had for us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved), raised us up with him, and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not from you; it is the gift of God.  Ephesians 2:4-8

In praise and gratitude for our loving and merciful God, let us pray for the souls of all those who have gone before us, that they may be graced with the gift of eternal rest.  Additionally, when our friends, families, and selves are called to leave this world, may we too willingly accept the saving grace that we are given.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Spread the Divine Mercy message. Share the hope.  Pray for souls! Pass it on! 

*Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul by Maria Faustina Kowalska

Monday, October 27, 2014

Pray for Marriages (Help with the rough patches)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Any married couple knows that marriage is a journey taken on an unknown, untraveled road.  You don’t know when to expect the bumps, forks, twists and turns, detours, dead-ends, potholes, new pavement, or viewpoints.  Sometimes you find limited visibility, and darkness is all you can see ahead.  While changing “road” conditions are expected, many occur during transitional moments in life: the birth of a child, the death of a parent, the moving out of the last child, etc.  Sometimes change brings tension between two spouses just when what is needed is unity. 

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

My heart seeks to pray for all couples dealing with a difficult stretch in the road trip called marriage. Take some time to pray for their strength, cohesiveness, patience, compassion, and love.   If you have specific couples in mind, pray for them by name.  Your prayers might be just the light they need to move ahead.

I will lead the blind on a way they do not know; by paths they do not know I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight.  These are my promises: I made them, I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Prayer makes the best gift.  Pass it on!  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Pray for Families (Life is for Living)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Each one of us is a masterpiece, created by the great Master.  You are royalty, princes and princesses, sons and daughters of our heavenly King. You were born with inherent dignity. You are sacred. You are His.

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! My very self you know. Psalm 139:13-14

October is Respect Life Month.  Every person was created for a special purpose in this life.  From conception to natural death, you have a purpose.

For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them. Ephesians 2:10

In light of this, it only makes sense that we pray not only for the protection of life from birth to natural death, but pray that eyes may be open to see the masterpieces that surround us, especially in our own families.  Please pray also for the protection of one's spirit and spiritual life, that it not be crushed nor drowned out by the noise of the culture.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Protect the masterpieces!  Pass it on!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Pray for Marriages (Marriage 101)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

One can take all kinds of classes, but where is the class on marriage?  I am amazed that this vocation’s training is still primarily OTJ (on the job).   But perhaps this is Gods plan, as He is the Vocation Director who wants to bless your marriage and guide you along your path to Him.

We know that sacramental marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman. Next consider that marriage is a biblical metaphor to describe the covenant relationship between God and his people.  He is the Bridegroom, the Church His bride.

God never tires of us.  He loves us unconditionally even when we ignore Him, forgives us repeatedly even when we offend Him by choosing our will over His, nurtures us when we are hurting, and carries us when we are weak.  Do you think He is mirroring for us what a marital relationship should look like?

Perhaps marriage is just a training ground, preparing us for the heavenly wedding feast. 

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory. For the wedding day of the Lamb has come, his bride has made herself ready. Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed* are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These words are true; they come from God.” Rev 19:7, 9

Lord, hear our prayers for marriages. We need your helping hand, as our hope is to spend eternity with you! Teach us to love as you love, be patient as you are patient, and to be consoling, especially when our spouse endures emotional, spiritual, or physical trials; Carry us when we become immobilized by fear, exhaustion, or heartache. Heal our infirmities, especially anything that becomes a barrier to you. Illumine our minds that we may understand the wisdom of your ways. Jesus we trust in You. Bless and sanctify all marriages! Amen!

Peace, Joy, and Love,

There is help for all marriages. It begins by dialoguing with God. Pass it on!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pray for Families (Mercy and Forgiveness)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Lighten your load today.  Forgive someone who you are having difficulty forgiving.  Show mercy.  Then you will feel the shackles fall off of YOU.

Beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit. Keep yourselves in the love of God and wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. On those who waver, have mercy; 
Jude 1:20-22

Pray.  Forgive a relative or friend.  Pray for family. Praise God.

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Show mercy and forgiveness and you will be set free. Pass it on!  

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pray for Marriages (Hearts Renewed)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Our hearts were made for Love.  Adam and Eve knew this and lived with hearts that burned with God’s all consuming love. But even though God gave them everything, they yearned for (and succumbed to) the one thing they were told they couldn’t have, fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Thus the first marital fight began and heartache was born.

My body! My body! How I writhe! The walls of my heart! My heart beats wildly, I cannot be still; Jeremiah 4:19

Marital conflict is but a spiritual battle.  Just as the Serpent lured Adam and Eve into thinking his plan would lead them to a better life, he too works his way into the cracks of marriages, trying to convince a struggling couple that greater happiness can be found by divorcing.  But hope lies in knowing that in Christ, the spiritual battle will never be lost. He will never abandon you.  Through Him, all can be strengthened and healed.  You only have to surrender your will to His.

Strengthen hands that are feeble, make firm knees that are weak, say to the fearful of heart: Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you. Isaiah 35.3-4

When love has faded and one’s heart no longer is capable of loving, He is there.

And I will give them another heart and a new spirit I will put within them. From their bodies I will remove the hearts of stone, and give them hearts of flesh. Jeremiah 4:29

Why do we believe this?  Because “Love never fails”*.  Indeed He doesn’t!  Please continue to pray for those in weakened marriages and praise Him for all those marriages He has compassionately saved. 

Peace, Joy, and Love,

He can soften the hardest hearts.  Pass it on! 
 *1 Corinthians 13:8

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pray for Families (Shepherd us with Love)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

We have been praying for marriage and family for about 5 years now!  May the Lord bless all of you and your families for your commitment to prayer!

Even in Rome, the focus is on the family as Pope Francis recently called for an “Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops” which began October 5 and continues until October 19.  Their gathering will be focused on: The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.  The event will explore how our churches can show compassion in the context of modern views and practices on sexuality.  In other words, how can they better shepherd the family.

Pope Francis wrote a prayer he asked all to pray, seeking the intercession of the Holy Family for the success of the Synod.  I ask all of you to pray this prayer regardless of your faith background, because we are part of the same spiritual family.

Prayer to the Holy Family for the Synod

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
In you we contemplate the splendor of true love, to you we turn with trust.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
Grant that our families too may be places of communion and prayer, authentic schools of the Gospel and small domestic Churches.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
May families never again experience violence, rejection and division:
May all who have been hurt or scandalized find ready comfort and healing.

Holy Family of Nazareth,
May the approaching Synod of Bishops make us once more mindful of the sacredness and inviolability of the family, and its beauty in God’s plan.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, graciously hear our prayer.  Amen.

O Shepherd of Israel, lend an ear, you who guide Joseph like a flock! Seated upon the cherubim, shine forth!  Psalm 80:2

Lord bless and sanctify those you have called to shepherd us!
Lord, bless and sanctify the Prayer Warriors!
Lord, bless and sanctify our families!  Hear our never-ending prayers!

Peace, Joy and Love,

Ask anyone born into a family to pray!  Pass it on!  

Monday, October 6, 2014

Pray for Marriages (The Wow of Vows)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

A friend recently shared something she learned:

“In a sacramental marriage, we don’t keep the vows, the vows keep us.”

Wow! It makes so much sense.  Left to our own devices, no marriage would ever make it.  But when two baptized people marry, it is sacramental, infused with grace. Grace is that special support needed to weather the hills and valleys of married life.  All a couple has to do is cooperate with this God given grace.

co·op·er·ate*    verb \kō-ˈä-pə-ˌrāt\
: to be helpful by doing what someone asks or tells you to do
: to act in a way that makes something possible or likely 
: to produce the right conditions for something to happen
*Merriam-Webster .com

So simple.  Yet so often we selfishly turn inward, as if everything should revolve around our needs and desires.   God asks us to be child-like in our love, not childish in our behavior.

I dwell in a high and holy place, but also with the contrite and lowly of spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, to revive the heart of the crushed. For I will not accuse forever, nor always be angry; for without me their spirit fails, the life breath that I have given.  Isaiah 57:15-16

Lord, we pray for an outpouring of grace on marriages.  Release couples from the chains of their selfish desires and reunite them with the bonds of your love.  Make each spouse’s love as pure and unconditional as yours is toward them.  Bring hope where none remains, and joy to those whose sorrow pierces their heart.  Your light can illuminate any darkness.  Make haste O Lord with your grace, and give us a spirit of cooperation, that we may glorify and praise You for your love and mercy!

Lord, you will open my lips; and my mouth will proclaim your praise.
Psalm 51:17

Peace, Joy, and Love,

Let the Lord do the lifting—cooperate! Pass it on! 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Pray for Families (When good is not enough)

Greetings Prayer Warriors,

Ask anyone if they think they are going to heaven and they will respond, “I think I’m a good person.”  But just what does “I’m a good person” mean??!  Is its definition relative to the shifting culture? 

God doesn’t call us to be good but to be holy.  That definition is only relative to God!

Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, for it is written, “Be holy because I [am] holy.” 1 Peter 1:14-16

Most people believe they are going to heaven.  I would like to believe that too, but one has to consider that WE CHOOSE admission to heaven or hell.  Christ died for everyone’s salvation and opened the gates of heaven.  But we have to accept this gift by doing His will, not ours.  When we choose our will, we walk away from Him. That is exacting what sin is; choosing our will over His!

“You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.…….do this and you will live.” Luke 10:27-28

He gave us commandments as guardrails on the road to life. So if we once again look at ourselves, how many times per hour/day/week are we choosing our will over His?

But understand this: there will be terrifying times in the last days. People will be self-centered and lovers of money, proud, haughty, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, irreligious, callous, implacable, slanderous, licentious, brutal, hating what is good, traitors, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, as they make a pretense of religion but deny its power. Reject them. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

What are we mirroring for our family? Others? 

For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with great tenderness I will take you back.  Though the mountains fall away and the hills be shaken, My love shall never fall away from you nor my covenant of peace be shaken, says the LORD, who has mercy on you.  Isaiah 54:7, 10

Let us pray for ourselves and for our families, asking to be given grace in abundance so that one day we may completely surrender our will to His, thus choosing life! 

The Lord is kind and merciful!!  Blessed by God forever!

Peace, Joy, and Love,

“Good” isn’t enough.  Strive for holiness! Pass it on!