The other day, a good friend sent me a message, asking for prayers. I wrote him back and told him that I would add his intention to a novena I’m praying, as well as to my daily prayers. To be honest, it was sort of a knee-jerk response, the kind of thing I would have told pretty much anyone who wrote me to ask for prayers. “Sure, I’ll pray for you. Just let me go write it down.”

I replied to his effusive thank you with a shrugging response, pretty much saying, “Hey, isn’t that what anyone would do?” I don’t think about that as being real work.

He wrote me back again, and his response made me think about prayer — and the work of prayer — in a new way.

Praying is doing the WORK of the Church. It is work. It takes time, energy and commitment.  We may all be called to pray but how many of us actually do that work? I am guilty of being spiritually lazy at times and failing to converse with God, telling Him about those I care about, listening for His guidance.

One important thing I myself struggle to manage is being noticed and praised for something I should be doing all along.  I know it’s called positive reinforcement in the dry psychological circles but I am a huge failure here.  I dismiss praise from others because I somehow feel unworthy. For ME, it’s part of my life-long inferiority complex which has its roots in childhood. I am only now realizing that I am GOD’S child. He loves me and lavishes His sweetness on me in ways I am only now seeing.

Your note triggered those thoughts about myself.  I think the really best answer is not that I give you credit (though I do, so there!) but that I rejoice that you in the Body of Christ come to [my] aid, in the Body of Christ. We share in the divine ecstatic dance of the Father with the Son from which the Holy Spirit flows and gives life to the world.

You and all who pray for others deserve to remember that you are part of the dance, especially when you do something for someone else, even something as “little” as praying to the God of the universe for a brother you have never met. Instead of credit, call it joy.

I have had intentions so dear, so special, so important to my heart that, when people have told me they’re praying for them, I have been moved to tears. I know how it feels to be appreciative of the power of the time others take to remember my intentions to God. So, this week, I’m going to pay closer attention to doing this work of mine well, because it is so very, very important.