“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.” – John 17:9
Last night, I was able to attend Mass with a dear sister. And this verse in the Gospel struck me. I thought about the numerous times other people have asked me to pray for them. Or the times that I pray for other people. And a sudden realization brought me to my knees.
I used to think that it made a difference when other people prayed for me. Or when I offered up my prayers for other people. I based it on the Matthew 18:19-20 verse that was drilled into me since childhood –
“Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
But, once again, I had interpreted the verse in an impure manner. I used to think that I had the power to make Him listen. That I had influence on His answer to my prayers. That the more people I could gather to intercede for a certain intention, God would relent. Like a spoiled child, I forced my selfish whims om the Father who had given me the world.
Boo my selfish pride and my sinful humanity!
I go back to the prayer Jesus made in that line. He prayed not because He knew that His prayers would be answered – I mean, He is God after all.
Rather, He offered up those who were entrusted to His care back to the Father in simple humility because He knew that they belonged to the Father in the first place. No matter what happens – it would be the Father’s will that would take place.
Even with the tears of a praying Hannah, I can offer up whatever intentions I want. I can put ash on my head and walk around with a sack cloth. I can pray multiple novenas and even more rosaries. I can send a petition round for signatures to the people I know who will commit to pray for an intention that I have. But, it’s never going to be a sure shot.
He sees through all my pretenses. He sees through my mask. He sees to the depths of my soul.
He will weigh me. He will measure me. And He will always find me wanting.
Then, when all seems hopeless…
His unfailing love.
His Divine embrace.
He invites me to submit.
He invites me to pray the words of my Mother – “I am the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to Your word.