From the Desk of the Lay Director: October 2014

My Dear Fellow Challengers,

Something that has been on my mind fairly recently is prayer, specifically intentions in personal prayer. I think that we can all agree that for the most part regular personal prayer can be a real challenge because of our busy schedules and often distracted dispositions. However, we all know that prayer is a central pillar of our faith lives and often times our relationships with others. In the Challenge Movement, I often get asked by various people to pray for them during a difficult time or to pray for an intention that they have. I always reply with a cheerful and dedicated yes! However, upon arriving home I can find it hard to know how much I should pray for that person or their intention. Is a simple, Lord Bless X sufficient? Or should I sit for 10 or 15 minutes and reflect on that person? And how can I accomplish a deeper form of prayer if I am struggling just to get my personal prayer in each day? The answer I have is formal intercessory prayer.

An intercessory prayer is when you go before the Lord on behalf of another person. I chose to talk about intercessory prayer for two reasons this month. The first reason is that October is the liturgical month of The Holy Rosary and the second is that I have lately begun to form a deep attachment to The Divine Mercy Chaplet when praying for the intentions of others. I recommend these two forms of intercessory prayer because they are concrete formulaic (not in a bad way) prayers, which were designed specifically with the purpose of being intercessory. The Rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet are both formalized intercessory prayer, which you can use to pray for others, and also to jumpstart or add some routine to your personal prayer life. You do not have to choose to do the whole chaplet or rosary either, on both you can just try doing a decade. Likewise, both are done on rosary beads so you can really do either. Even more, you can get apps on your phone, which provide all the words to the prayers, reflections and even sliding electronic beads for counting where you are. Formal intercessory prayer is more accessible than ever, and it allows us to lift our thoughts and the intentions of others towards God, even when we feel that we may have nothing to say.

Ultimately our beloved movement runs on prayer. We need to pray for the movement, for the executive, for the teams, for the candidates and for our community members both present and far away. In this blog I challenge you to try one of these forms of intercessory prayer for one or all of the intentions I have listed above. Even if you just get through one decade of the rosary, we all need to start somewhere. So during this month of the Holy Rosary please try a new or maybe already familiar form of intercessory prayer for the movement and for those in your own lives who may be in need of prayers.

De Colores,