PRAYING FOR OTHERS IS DIGNIFYING
“’In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For Thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.’” (Mt 6: 9-13)
Every time I pray as the Lord taught us to pray, in the “manner” demonstrated by Him above, I pray not only for myself, but also for the rest of “us.” Who are “we”? “We” are everyone who is a child of God; anyone whose “Father” is God. If I love my neighbor “as I love myself” (Mk 12: 31), then I am no less concerned about his/her “daily bread,” and “forgiveness,” and “deliverance from the evil one,” and overall welfare, according to God’s good “will” and hallowed “name” by the blessings of His “kingdom,” than I am about my own.
A healthy, Christ-inspired self-love extends to others, sharing their burdens and concerns, and alleviating them as “our” own, by daily prayer to our common Father. That’s why praying for others is like donating blood; it’s a self-offering that is “sacri-ficial” (from the Latin words “sacer” and “facere,” meaning “to make holy”). It makes us holy, to pray for others. Prayer for others also nurtures our sense of “belonging” to one great family in the “house” of our One Creator. Thank You, Lord, for entrusting all of “us” with the dignifying job of praying for one another, just as You prayed for us, as One of us, in the passage quoted above.