December 5, 2020

How I Pray for My Family and Friends

By Chaplain Mike.

In addition to the practice of “long wandering prayer” to which David Hansen introduced me, I find keeping set times of “saying my prayers” important.

For much of my pastoral career, I found that people in evangelical churches avoided, disdained, and even spoke against set forms of prayer. It has heartened me to see a revival of interest in using such forms in recent years, as many have rediscovered the ancient practices, such as praying the liturgy of the hours.

A couple of articles on Internet Monk encouraged me to buy a set of prayer beads (see My Gear, part one and My Gear, part two). I did some searching on the web to find out various ways of using them, and then began to settle on a routine (which I follow as consistently as this lazy, undisciplined man is capable of).

When I go to bed at night, I use the beads to say the Gloria Patri, the Creed, the Beatitudes, Psalm 23, the Lord’s Prayer, the Jesus Prayer, and other scriptures and set prayers. I reserve the final set of beads to utter petitions for myself, my family, my friends, and others that come to mind. And here is what I pray:

  • Lord, establish [us] in life
  • And Lord, establish [us] in faith
  • And Lord, establish [us] in virtue
  • And Lord, be to [us] a very present help in times of trouble
  • And Lord, help [us] to trust in you with a whole heart, to lean not on [our] own understanding, but in all [our] ways to know you, that you may make [our] paths straight.

This is my prayer for all of you. The Lord be with you.

Comments

  1. Love it . . . I started doing the rosary recently and though my Protestant mind was somewhat uncomfortable with it previously, it has become a great prayer tool for me . . . as well a calming meditation.

  2. br. thomas says

    For over 20 years I have taken several personal spiritual retreats each year. Over the past ten years, I have taken these retreats at a nearby Trappist monastery. Usually, I participate in most of the divine offices of the day (although not the real early ones!).

    During the last office of the day, Compline, the community sings this hymn, which I pray every night before I go to sleep:

    Now in the fading light of day,
    Creator of the world we pray.
    That with Your ever watchful love,
    You guard and keep us from above.

    Defend your people through the night,
    that we may put all fear to flight.
    May evil never have it’s way,
    preserve us for another day.

    Almighty Father hear our cry,
    through Jesus Christ, our Lord most high.
    And with the Spirit Paraclete,
    whose reign the endless ages greet. Amen.

    • This is a lovely prayer, Thomas. Thank you for sharing it. I shall add it to my (short) collection of evening prayers. Usually I use this one from the BCP:

      Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord; and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night; for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

  3. Mike, thank you for this and for the previous post. The David Hansen book on ministry is indeed superb. I must go re-read it 🙂 Sadly it looks like his book on prayer is out of print (and hard to get in Canada). I will try because it looks/sounds wonderful.

    I want to thank you, brother, for your very excellent stewardship of this blog in the absence of Michael. Thank you so much.

    Now let’s get the other Michael back, eh?

  4. That last part is from Proverbs 3. I wandered into that chapter a few days ago in the midst of an ongoing “Oh God – what am I supposed to do in this situation!?” struggle. And if anyone can tell me *how* to trust God rather than my own understanding, that would be awesome. :\

    • This may sound really trite, but sometimes you just do it. That is, sometimes trusting God is making the volitional choice to not go all Abraham-with-Hagar (i.e. trying to force God’s hand) but rather just wait and trust. That’s so hard for us, especially when we’re pretty smart and capable folks!

      Last Christmas, I drove home to visit my folks, paternal grandparents, and sister in Albuquerque. While there, I went with the family to visit the friends and siblings of my late maternal grandmother (she died in October of ’08). I was so very impressed by the simple faith of the old folks. They were often too sick or weak to even leave their houses. But every one of them still were talking about what the Lord was doing in their lives even through something as simple as prayer.

      I gotta tell you, I want that kind of faith!

  5. Thanks, Mike. I like this very much and enjoy reading other people’s favorite prayers. It’s very inspiring.

    To me the phrase that sums up the Christian life comes in the General Thanksgiving in the Book of Common Prayer. We thank God “for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory.” What more is there than that?

    God is good, and His mercy endures forever.

  6. I am a Baptist preacher, but frequently find myself preaching in Presbyterian churches. More liturgical (generally speaking) than Baptist churches, they expect a formal benediction at the close of service. I now close each service with the following prayer, which was actually passed along to me from an Episcopal church:

    Now go into the world in peace,
    Have courage;
    Hold on to what is good.
    Strengthen the fainthearted;
    support the weak;
    help the suffering;
    and share the gospel.
    Love and serve the Lord in the power of the Holy Spirit.
    And may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.
    Amen

    • Clark,

      In our little country so baptist church, the preacher always calls on someone in the congregation to say a closing prayer, so we never hear a real benediction. I’d like to copy this down and use it the next time I get “chosen”.

      I’m just curious though if a benediction should be given only to the pastor, instead of someone in the congregation — ie. are congregates only qualified to toss off an off the cuff prayer, but not a true benediction.

  7. Chaplain Mike,

    Are the “Anglican” beads in the photo the ones you got from Alan’s site? I bought a single-decade rosary from him a while back. When I get some more money (as Townes Van Zandt sang, “But times were tough, Lord”) I plan on buying some of different styles. One of the things I like about the Anglican-style is the symbolism of the 33 beads, divisions of weeks, and cruciform shape. Theoretically I like how there’s nothing “set” for that style, but practically, I’ve been unable to come up with my own liturgy for ’em (I have a set I made a few years ago).

    These days, I spend most of my personal prayer time using forms from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, especially the “Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families” section (pp 136-140). I also have come to really like praying the Chaplet of the Divine Mercy on a rosary I bought in Jerusalem. I use the 1-decade Alan Creech rosary to remind me to pray for 10 specific people who are very special to me. I usually incorporate the Lord’s Prayer, Gloria Patri and the Jesus Prayer into that devotion.

    For a Protestant, this may seem counter-intuitive, but having a more liturgical set to my prayers has both helped me be freer in the non-liturgical aspects (the Daily Devotions have sections reserved for personal non-liturgical prayers before the Lord’s Prayer) as well as making my prayer time much more intimate with God.

  8. I love it! And I’m totally with you; in fact, I just wrote a post on the importance of our approach to “liturgy,” that I’ll probably release next month.

    It’s been eye-opening to experience things like this in various churches, including the new “emerging” ones. Great thoughts, brother!

  9. For those who may not be comfortable with traditional rosary prayers, there is a lovely ecumenical prayer at http://www.ecumenicalrosary.com

  10. What I find interesting is that when Jesus taught us how to pray – He used the “Lord’s Prayer”….

    Millions recite this prayer religiously –

    He never intended us to do that…….

    This is a ‘model’ prayer…….not a prayer in and of itself for the sole purpose of repetition .

    • Scripture actually supports both views, Matthew. In Matt 6, Jesus said, “Pray in this way,” suggesting it as a model. But in Luke 11, Jesus said, “When you pray, say…” thus encouraging its use as a set prayer. Both types of prayer are legitimate and important.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says

        Especially for those of us (like me) who are no good at off-the-cuff improv.

    • OK, I’ll ‘bite’..a little; all repetition does not have to be ‘mindless’, pagan-like repetition. Many have the experience of repetition helping focus a distracted mind, a wandering mind. If it takes our minds back to a place of being in the LORD’s presence, mentally, volitionally, can that be such a bad thing ??

      Pax, in HIM
      Greg R

      • I think of how that simple prayer was uttered by Todd Beamer on Flight 93. I think of the countless other times it, as well Psalm 23, have been both the first and last things on Christians’ minds.

    • In my opinion, repetition doesn’t have to be such a bad thing. As a musician, I can play the same pieces of music over and over again and not get tired of them, playing them just as passionately and being just as moved on the 100th time as on the 1st. I read favorite passages from books over and over again, I watch the same movies over and over again—the repetition isn’t a cold, empty thing, but rather an expression of what I find the most meaningful and engaging. So long as the heart and mind (and spirit) are engaged, repeating the Lord’s Prayer (or any kind of prayer) again and again can be seen in a very positive light.

      • So long as the heart and mind (and spirit) are engaged, ……

        Exactly. That’s my point, but you said it gooder…. 🙂

        Greg R

  11. Good stuff here. I love seeing all of us, all kinds of Christians, grab hold of something that’s simply helpful in focusing on God – focusing on His Word – focusing on His Life in us. I appreciate the kind words about my rosaries as well. I’ve always encouraged those who buy them, whether of the Anglican or Catholic variety, that they are just a tool. Use them in a way that helps you in your prayer.

    I’m glad they’re helpful in that way. I am very grateful to Michael for keeping the ad linked to my site here. I don’t actual statistics on this, but I know for a fact I’ve sold many more of my rosaries/prayer beads to those of other Christian traditions than to Catholics. Good stuff. Peace to all in this house – and God’s Healing to Michael Spencer!

  12. Thank you for this post and for praying for your readers this way. I, for one, appreciate it! 🙂