I shall pray for you! What does that mean exactly? …and does it have the same meaning for everyone?

I believe in the power of prayers, but over the years, I couldn’t help observing that some people use this phrase:” Oh, so sorry, I will pray for you,” when in my heart I know they just said something “nice” and non-commital,” rather than just saying sorry or I hope it gets better or actually helping a person in a more palpable way.

For many the fact that this very important word, prayer, is taken lightly or misused, resulted in daubs for many.

For me  prayers DO EXIST but they take certain conditions, such as a dedicated peaceful time and above all Faith!

I am  wondering, how many times I said “I’ll pray for someone,” and thought of them all day, sending love and healing, but not actually taking the time to focus in silence, light a candle and be on my knees, focused  on their problem alone. I have been more of a doer to show my faith, It could  be a ride when someone was sick, or a loaf of bread, or making soup for the elderly in a church group.

As I lack the hard cash, I try to help through my skills. But these acts are not prayers, more like community service.

When I realized that what I did was not true prayer, I changed the wording to “I am sending good, positive vibes your way,what can I DO for you in a tangible way!”  I  show my Faith by doing something concrete.

I  am a believer of the saying “God helps those that help themselves.”  As a result, I took out of my vocabulary and thoughts  the words “never, impossible, may be,” and replaced them with attainable specific goals (of course, that did not include becoming an opera singer, that would be delusional.) 

As I was writing this post, I remembered  a group of nuns in whose prayers I do believe, defining prayer as needing “peace and  quiet. Please, don’t take me wrong, no doubt others pray in their various ways, I am ONLY sure of what I experienced personally.

With that in mind, I recalled a visit I paid many years ago with my friend Cassandra, to her friend, a Carmelite nun in a monastery, in Philadelphia. As visitors, we were allowed to speak with Cassandra’s friend, the Carmelite nun, through the bars. I learned that this incredible nuns do not speak among themselves, they are SILENT. They speak only if they had a visitor or an emergency. Their whole life was dedicated to prayers.

Today, I wanted to learn more about them, before I shared with you, and researched the Carmelite nuns origins. Thanks to “Catholic Voice,” the article “Peace and Quiet,” by Naomi Fallon, I learned that the nuns” take vows of obedience, chastity and poverty and make their business to pray for other. Prayers could be requested by letters, in person or by telephone.

” As stated in this article, the nuns say: ” The essence of our vocation is prayer and seeking union with God.”They have two books of prayer, one for the living and one for the dead. 

The order was founded in 1865 by Lyons in France at Fuhham (www.carmelite.org.) They are vegetarian and the Prioress makes the decisions. At Mass, there are six lit  candles  on the altar, and a seventh is lit if the Bishop visits.

Their motto: “To Thee O God Silence is Praise!”

“There women, 500 years after Saint Teresa of Avila, who are giving their all to God.” (quote from  the Bishop’s speech,(www.vocationblog.com) 

There are many Carmelite locations around the world, and personally, as one who loves to talk, I admire their comittment to silence and prayers. 

To me, personally, what they do is prayer, as I imagine it in its perfect form, requiring  peace and quiet and a dedicated, focused intention  on the subject of prayers.

I have heard of many forms of prayer, but I would love to hear back from the readers of this blog:

What does prayer mean to you? Did you have a personal experience with prayers working for you?

3 thoughts on “I shall pray for you! What does that mean exactly? …and does it have the same meaning for everyone?

  1. Pingback: I shall pray for you! What does that mean exactly? …and does it have the same meaning for everyone? | rodicamihalis.com

  2. Does belief in prayer imply a belief in G-d? Can atheists pray? To whom? How is prayer different from merely wishing for something. Whether it is for the health of another or for personal direction?
    What you describe sounds more like focused meditation, a precept shared by Buddhist and non-theists as well as other religious communities. Perhaps prayer is really an honest conversation with ourselves?
    Food for thought. Thank you for your reflection.


    • Avra,
      What makes the universe so fascinating in my personal experience and perception (I stress MY perception) is how different we are from one another. Keeping this in mind, belief in prayer I think implies FAITH in a Force greater than us, humans (call the Force God or a Greater Power, or anything which is GREATER than us, humans, and able to influence our lives positively.)
      Could atheists pray? If we use logic, I’d say no, as prayer implies faith, which is trusting in something without having a palpable proof in most cases (of course there are examples of miracles…) and atheists believe only in what you see is what you get. I grew up in a communist country and family. It is actually a very hopeless life (as prayer gives HOPE) when one is a “true” atheist and not forced by a political regime, as in the case of communism in Eastern Europe, when I grew up. For me, personally is an evolving concept, this is why I wrote the post; not because I have definitive answers, but because it’s on my mind. Thank you for visiting my blog.


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