Widen Your Circle of Prayer
“You must widen your circle of prayer to include now the whole human race if you wish to fulfill my will. I am the sole judge as to when a person’s heart is prepared to receive such graces of conversion, and many stand waiting to receive, yet there is no one who will make the effort to ask of this for them. Prayer is the prerequisite to spiritual favors and gifts and must be asked for by someone. You may not always know who is being helped by your prayers, but it is not necessary for you to know as all of these matters are kept in the mind of God who will reward you in abundance for even the smallest attempt at the salvation of the souls whom He loves so tenderly.” (Apostolate of Holy Motherhood, message 41).
As a wife and mother, I often find myself overwhelmed by the many things I need to pray for: my husband, my marriage, my children, and my own spiritual growth, my parents, my siblings, my extended family, in-laws, and friends. Then of course there are those intentions that are outside my immediate family circle, but are no less important: the Pope, all priests and religious, my Parish family, and eventually extending out to the entire human race, for those suffering from any kind of injustice, illness, addiction, for those who have fallen away from the faith or never heard the Gospel message, for those affected by abortion…. The list is inexhaustible, and the suffering and desperate need for intercession seems endless. And even if I were to pray for every person and need, how could I be sure I was praying for the right things for them? How could I be sure that what I was asking was in God’s will?
I found some relief from this quandary by consecrating myself to the Blessed Virgin Mary in 2017. When Catholics speak of consecrating themselves to Our Lady, St. Joseph, their Guardian Angel, or any other Saint, what we mean is that we are formally dedicating or entrusting all that we are – our prayers, works, joys, and sufferings - to that Saint to be used in the furtherance of accomplishing the Divine Will. Simply put, the idea is that the Saints, who now behold the Beatific Vision, have a better understanding of where our prayers and efforts are most needed. We here on earth, blinded by our own sin and human frailty, often do not know who or how or what to pray for, so we entrust our efforts to those who know better.
Nevertheless, I still felt the need to try my best to cover as many intentions as possible in my prayer, resting assured that Our Lady would cover any gaps or redistribute my efforts as appropriate. Over time, I found an easy way to organize my intentions already existed in the way the Church has always focused on various mysteries throughout the week. Relying on the wisdom of the Church, I have found this weekly pattern to be an excellent way to “widen my circle of prayer.”
Using the theme for each day, I plan my prayer intentions for the week and include them as part of my Morning Offering each day. Below, I offer specific examples as to how you can do the same.
Sunday – Resurrection of Jesus
Every Sunday is a mini-Easter, when we gather as a Church family to celebrate once again the joyous hope and new life we have in Christ. Since the Resurrection is a celebration of new life, on Sundays I pray for children. I pray for my own, for my nieces and nephews, and all children throughout the world. I pray especially that God will provide them with good and faithful parents, priests, catechists, spiritual mentors, and teachers to guide their spiritual and intellectual growth. I pray that those suffering from any kind of injustice, abuse, or deprivation may be sheltered under Our Lady’s mantle and be given relief. Finally, I pray for those in the womb, that they may be protected.
Monday – Souls in Purgatory
The theme for Monday is fairly straightforward, and I offer all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all those who have died, that they may be brought to rest in the Eternal Light. Today is a wonderful day to offer a Divine Mercy Chaplet for the Souls in Purgatory or to pray the St. Gertrude Prayer.
Tuesday – Holy Angels
On Tuesdays I pray particularly for all my friends, extended family members, acquaintances, and my religious community of Apostoli Viae. I ask my Guardian Angel to greet the Guardian Angel of each person I come into any kind of contact with that day and to pray for that person. I ask that God strengthen their Guardian Angels and that He surround them with His Holy Angels to protect them and to minister to them in whatever sufferings they may be facing, in the same way the Holy Angels ministered to Jesus during His Agony in the Garden.
Wednesday – St. Joseph
On Wednesdays, I pray especially for my husband, my father and father-in-law, my grandfathers, and all men as they undertake their roles spiritual and/or biological fathers. I pray they may be good and faithful husbands and may perfectly imitate Christ as the priest and head of their own Domestic Churches. I pray especially that they be given wisdom and courage to know and follow God’s will in their lives. Finally, I pray for my sons and my daughter’s future husband (if that should be in God’s will), that they may be kept pure and chaste and follow the example of St. Joseph in their own lives.
Thursday – Eucharist
On Thursdays I pray for the Pope and all Bishops, priests, and religious. I give thanks for their indispensable role in bringing the sacraments to the faithful, and I pray that when the Father gazes upon them in love, He may see the face of His Son reflected clearly back to Him. I pray that those suffering doubt, loneliness, anxiety or fear may be brought more deeply into His Sacred Heart and may feel and be comforted by the Light of His Presence. I pray for their continued and deeper conversion, that they may have the courage to proclaim the Truth, and that those who sow confusion, discord, or heresy be fully converted or silenced. Finally, I pray for an increase in vocations.
Friday – Passion of Jesus
Just as Sunday is a mini-Easter, each Friday is a mini-Good Friday and remembrance of the Crucifixion of Our Lord. On Fridays, I pray particularly for the reparation of sins of the whole world and for all those who have no one to pray for them. Fridays are a beautiful day to pray the Rosary of Our Lady of Sorrows for these intentions.
Saturday – Our Lady
Finally, Saturdays are devoted to Our Lady. On Saturdays, I pray particularly for my own vocations as wife and mother, for my own mother, grandmothers, and godmother, and for all women as they fulfill their roles as spiritual and/or biological mothers. I pray particularly for those women who face an unplanned pregnancy and pressure to have or who have had an abortion. I also pray for all those struggling with infertility, those suffering the pain of miscarriage, and those who are pregnant. I also pray for my daughter and the future wives of my sons (if that should be in God’s will), that they may always follow the example of Our Lady in their own lives.