When I was a little girl, we had one bathroom in the home that our family of five shared. I remember my dad shaving and preparing for work while I brushed my teeth. He would tell me “the family who brushes together, stays together!” I laughed at the time, but today I look back and remember his motto with a nostalgic heart. I believe there was wisdom in his words. Family fellowship in any form binds us together and makes the Lord present.
Now, as a parent myself, one of my happiest moments of the day is when we are gathered for dinner. We share our daily highlights (and low lights) and begin it all with prayer. We used to go around the table after our traditional “Give us this day..” prayer and then add a petition, but it became impractical due to the time it took to cover family, friends, neighbors, clergy, sick relatives, etc. and to restrain our growling tummies.:)
For a while we just shelved the dinnertime intentions and kept things simple. That was fine, but I did miss having a designated time to pray for everyone on our “list.” So, enter our prayer jar. It’s a simple way to cover friends/family and remember those whom we have promised to pray for. Since I am craft-challenged, it doesn’t get much simpler than this. We just took a mason jar, cut out a few web gloss holy pictures and taped them to the jar. The images are from Magnifikid!
Next, we just cut out a few dozen paper hearts and wrote down our prayer intentions.
All set! Now, each evening at dinner we pull out a heart, read our intention and keep that person, family, or group on our heart in prayer until the next day. We also ask the Lord to bless all those in our prayer jar (not just the ones we picked out that evening). As Pope John Paul II wrote in his encyclical “Gratissimam Sane,”: “Prayer increases the strength and spiritual unity of the family, helping the family to partake of God’s own “strength.” Prayer makes the Son of God present among us: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Mt 18:20).”
This year, we are also working with the Ursuline Sisters of Cleveland to share the good news about the Friends of Saint Angela ministry. It is a way to be embraced in prayer each week by these holy women. If you would like to have the sisters remember you in prayer or someone you love, click here for details. I love the idea of doing this for someone as a gift. What better offering could you give someone than the blessing of prayer?