A passage from a 17th century spiritual director, Fenelon, will begin this series of blog posts concerning praying for our loved ones. This passage speaks to our own hearts and minds as we are tempted to become anxious about the circumstances in which we live, especially in relation to those we love. My suggestion is that you read what Fenelon says as if he were your own personal spiritual director, and meditatively take these words to heart:
“It is a great gift to be able to be peaceful when you are facing situations that do not seem to change. Bear all the uncomfortable and inconvenient things about your current situation. Look at them as exercises that God has designed for your growth. He is teaching you to bear difficult situations without being depressed. Your emotions may be low, but your inner man is being upheld. This peace is all the more precious when there is no earthly reason to have it.
“It is wonderful to be willing to accept all situations, no matter how difficult. It is good to never say, ‘This is all too much for me, I cannot bear it.’ Depend on the Almighty. God’s hand holds you. Do not try to look too far ahead, but merely live moment by moment before God. Yield to God with a heart full of trust…. Accept what comfort He gives you. Live to do His will alone.”
Here is a Scripture worthy of memorization; in fact, we might recognize that holding it firmly in our memory is critical when we are praying for our loved ones (or, for others’ loved ones): Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. for everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:7-11
And another essential Scripture full of promise for those who pray: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice! …..Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:4-7
“Some other Scriptures related to the above are: Mark 4:39,40; Luke 8:15; John 16:33; I Thessalonians 5:23,24.