LIBERA ME, Domine, Iesu Christe, ab omnibus iniquitatis meis et universis malis,
fac me tuis semper inhærere mandatis et a te numquam separari permittas. Amen.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The 'Bank of Prayer'

Next week is, as I have already mentioned, the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity – an important cause, and one for which we all ought to be praying hard. At the same time, though, it is overshadowed by the appalling consequences of the earthquake in Haiti, and (at least for most of us) the sad fact that apart from giving money we can do little except pray . . . and then, of course, we all have other legitimate – and important – calls on our prayers.

So what can we do, not only about these two desperately urgent things, but about all the other things which come along every day – and if you’ve been reading my musings over the last few weeks, you will realize that I think there are quite a lot of them – about which we really ought to be praying ?

The trouble is, you see, that at a time like this when there are several major demands on one’s prayers, one’s mind inevitably asks ‘but who should I pray for ?' Obviously you ought to pray for Christian Unity : but you can’t get those images of Haiti out of your mind . . . and then there’s Aunt Maude who’s so ill, and that little girl that someone else mentioned, and . . .

Well, I think there’s a very simple answer.

You know how, when you send money to a big charity in response to an Appeal when something happens like Haiti you let them decide what the best thing to do with it is – whether it’s to send doctors, or to ship food and water, or to rebuild hospitals, you let them decide, because the needs change from day to day, and you have no idea ?

Well, you can do the same with prayers; a fact which (surprisingly) we tend to forget.

(I say ‘surprisingly’ because we all say at least a couple of prayers every day (at least, I hope we do) ‘for the Holy Father’s Intentions’, and we don’t usually know exactly what he wants to do with those prayers at that moment; we just know that he and God together will make proper use of them – which is what matters : so at least in theory we already know that we have the solution for times like this.)

Just say your Rosary (or, indeed, anything else you prefer), but offer it directly to Our Lady for her to make use of as God wills. If you want, you can even say to her privately, before you start ‘Mother, God knows that I care about Christian Unity and bringing our separated Brethren back home; but also that I am deeply distressed about Haiti and want to help them, (and whatever else occurs to you) – please, just make whatever use of these prayers God wants’.

In other words, you put your prayers into a ‘Bank’, which Our Lady can draw on for whatever God wants; and you can stop worrying, and get on with your prayers in the knowledge that you really will make a difference.

If you do that then you can (I believe) be sure of three things : first, Our Lady will be very pleased to receive your prayers and apply them for you; secondly, that they will do much good – the good that God wants them to do; and thirdly, that God will be very pleased with our trust in Him and His love.

Get praying !

(The picture at the top, by the way, is the Madonna del Popolo, showing Our Lady doing exactly what I have described above !)


  1. Sound teaching, as always.

  2. Excellent idea!

    Far better than giving God a detailed "shopping-list" of requests (which always feels unsatisfactory, not least because of the inevitable omissions)

    I'm glad to have discovered your blog.

  3. Mark;

    thank you and welcome - and you know what they say in restaurants ? 'If you're happy, tell your friends; if you're not, tell us' !