Most of us engage in intercessory prayer at least on occasion, if not on a regular basis. In addition to whatever other forms our prayer takes – whether it is praying with scripture, centering prayer or something else – we pray for ourselves, others, the world. When we are not praying for our own needs, the first thing we tend to think of is praying for the needs of our family and friends and others who are close to us.
The other day my friend Teresa shared a blog post that described a Lenten practice the author engaged in. Before the beginning of Lent, the author takes her calendar and writes on one of the 40 days the name of someone she is “not too fond of” (a description that could cover a lot). When that day arrives, she offers her prayers and petitions, frustrations, joys, and sufferings for the person’s intentions.
That struck me as a wonderful Lenten practice, indeed a practice for all year. In Matthew’s Gospel Jesus tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, chiding us that loving and caring for those who we love or are good to us is not enough.
Whether it is someone who has hurt you, someone who has done something to irritate you, someone who rubs you the wrong way, someone you are just “not too fond of”, why not find some time to pray for their wellbeing during this Lent. I know I plan to do so. I suspect that we may, as the author of the blog post does, find the practice to be a transformative one.