Life can sometimes be challenging and let’s face it, downright stressful. Along with the daily news of the nations’ problems and economy, there are friends and family who are having problems with foreclosures and changes in their lives if they have moved in with relatives after losing their homes.
When tempers and frustrations are at an all-time high; families in distress may have strained relationships and some collapse. Along with this, there are friends, family and acquaintances who are dealing with sickness, separation, physical and/or mental challenges. Some of them have lost family members through death or have other loss issues.
Sometimes, the best way to help a friend is to just listen to them. They may not want advice but just need an ear to vent, express grief or frustrations or seek help for assistance. Hurting folks deal with all these issues in different ways – exercise or work more, take medications, drink more or turn to their faith.
How do you, the listener, deal with the sadness, anger or problems of people you care about and are emotionally involved with? Or it may be someone whom you meet fleetingly in a doctor’s office or at church. After you listen to their different stories, you can offer a hug or some uplifting comment. You could also tell them that you will pray for them or the person in their lives who is having difficulty, sick or at a crosssroads.
Or you could tell them that you will place their problem, situation or requests in the Prayer Box.
Our faith-sharing group meets during Advent and Lent each year. At these meetings, we discuss scripture and gospel readings. At one of these meetings, the facilitator brought in a box, handed out a small notepaper and pencil & invited all to write down a prayer for someone they know who is in need of a prayer. We did not need to write the whole problem, “God already knows what the problem is.” The prayers are placed in the covered box, and are prayed for at each meeting. No one ever reads the contents.
Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Prayer is as powerful for the recipient as well as the giver.
If you are a sensitive person who internalizes the sadness and anxiety of friends who confide in you, I suggest you prepare a Prayer Box for them. It does not have to be fancy; mine is a plain gift box with a cover and I wrote the words “Prayer Box” on it. I keep it on my dresser and have many prayer requests in it. People who have asked me to include their requests in it – I just need their name and write ‘special intention’ or a simple word of the request .
I send up prayers for requests in the box during the day and at bedtime. I touch the box and pray each night that God answers all the prayers in the box and for peace and freedom from anxiety. If it is not God’s Will to answer a prayer and He has something else in mind for that person, I pray that they are given peace, strength & understanding.
The Prayer Box is beneficial to the requestor as it gives them a support – a hope – an action. It is also beneficial for the person praying for them. It relieves the internal distress you may feel for others and gives it over and up to God, who can act on the request according to His Will. It is the best help you can give them. I can attest that many miracles and positive results have resulted from praying over the Prayer Box.
© Marie Coppola July 2013