when we can’t pray

Last week I gave a rosary I had made to a person that I felt was in need of one. They had a severe medical emergency pop up and they were uncertain. This person had not asked anything of me but I knew they wanted me to sit with them while they waited 30 minutes for the ambulance to show up. The person was so scared, and eventually asked for prayers, which I promised. I also went inside to grab the yellow St. Michael rosary that I had made. It had not been blessed, but I did put my hand on it and pray for them, putting prayer intentions into it on their behalf. I looked at them and said I hope this will be helpful at some point, it’s all I have to give. I know it feels like you can’t pray right now, but if you need to pray and don’t have the words, just pull this out, and hold the crucifix in your hand. God will hear you, I promise.

I’m not sure if the person has used it or not, and it doesn’t matter to me. I gave the rosary to them as an item of comfort when they had none, a prayer they could pray if there wasn’t any words. I do hope that perhaps they were comforted by it, but again, it doesn’t matter. Putting my own intention and prayer on it just for them meant that my prayers went with them even if they didn’t pray themselves. The person may have thrown it out, who knows, but the prayers were still there.

Sometimes there are times that I feel like I cannot pray, and I’ve grasped a rosary crucifix while crying my eyes out too many times to count. I’ve always felt the presence of Jesus or Mary in those times. There have been times I’ve cursed God out in my anger and hurt. I’ve had moments when I’ve had something terrifying happen and all I’ve been able to manage is to focus every single bit of energy I have on focused breathing. All of these things, are prayer. After a repressed memory or a PTSD flashback often I inhale and say something simple like Lord, have mercy, and then exhale with Christ, have mercy. It helps with being able to ground myself from the trauma, as well as acknowledging that the presence of Christ is with me. Even tears are prayers. God doesn’t require particular words or phrases in prayer, God just wants us to pray.

Published by MaryClare StFrancis

MaryClare StFrancis is a writer who sounds as boring as hell but who is intimately acquainted with the horrific and the sacred. For a long time, darkness has been her friend, but she now walks in the light of Christ. As a committed Episcopalian, her main contribution to the church is her ability to make the priests facepalm or swear, depending on the day and context. MaryClare has a Master of Arts in English and Creative Writing and lives in Mississippi with her four children.

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