Fr. Anthony shares two heartwarming personal anecdotes on how he found himself praying with others. He also discusses four concrete steps inspired from Jesus’ teachings on how we should pray to our Father.
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Reflective Study Guide Questions
“Again, [amen,] I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”Matthew 18:18
- Sometimes Jesus needs us to be the ones to facilitate certain graces. Are your eyes and ears, and heart, open to seeing when He is asking you to do this everyday?
- The first basic step in prayer is addressing who God, the Father, is. Who is God, the Father, to you? What names can you think of that you would call Him in prayer?
- When we pray for another person, the second basic step is to address who it is we’re praying for. This reminds us that all of the people around us are brothers and sisters in Christ, and ultimately, we’re called to help them get to Heaven. Do you always remember that those around you are your brothers and sisters in Christ? Do you treat them as such, do you pray for them as such?
“Praying for Your Spouse & Getting Them to Heaven”
“Seeing the Face of Christ in the Sick & Suffering, and Praying for Them”
“What to Say to Someone Who is Suffering”
“Carrying Each Other’s Burdens”
Text: How to Pray with Other People
My name is Father Anthony, and today, we are going to learn how to pray with other people. This is a very important topic because, when we read the Scriptures, we often see Jesus praying with others. And since Jesus did it, we want to do it! So today, we are going to learn four basic steps. And before we get into that, I thought I might tell you a story that might give you a little bit of encouragement. Because, we need courage to pray with others.
About a year ago, I went to my friend’s birthday party, and shortly after arriving, I realized I had left my present in the car. So I excused myself, and I began walking to my car, and then this fellow approaches me. His name was James, and I could tell James was very upset.
James told me that his mother passed away, that his brother had lost his job, that he himself didn’t have proper housing – was living on the streets, and I can’t tell you exactly what he thought I said, but all of a sudden, he became very angry with me, and he started to accuse me of being a bad priest and a bad Christian. I thought at any moment, he was going to punch me in the face. So, what did I do? Well, what would you do? What I did was, I said, “Jesus, what should I do?” And the Lord said, “Pray with him.” So I tried to get the attention of James. I said, “James!” No use, he wasn’t listening. “James!” He was still yelling at me. “James! Let’s pray for your mom.”
And all of a sudden, James bowed his head like this, and he got very quiet, and we began to pray. I said this. I said, “Heavenly Father, I thank you and I bless you for the gift of my brother James, whose life is a blessing to this world. James lost his mother, his brother lost his job, and James himself needs proper housing. In the name of Jesus, bless Your son.” I got done praying, and James raised his head, and he had this big smile on his face. He said farewell and he went on his way.
Four Basic Steps
Sometimes, Jesus needs us to be the ones to facilitate certain graces. He wants us to pray with other people. And so, we need to learn how to do it. So, what are those four basic steps that I mentioned before? Well, you heard them when I prayed with James.
The first thing is this — get your paper ready: we address who God, the Father, is. “Heavenly Father, we bless you, we thank you.” The second thing: we address the person we’re praying for. In this case, his name was James.
“We thank you for the gift of my brother, your Son, James.” The third part is: we mention a need. And the fourth part is: we pray for the need in the name of Jesus. It’s important for us to mention our Lord’s name. So that’s it! Pretty simple!
We address God the Father, we then address the person we’re praying for, we mention the need, and in the name of Jesus, we pray for the need. It’s important for us to get a lot of practice when doing this, and what we’ll find is this becomes the very basic format of a lot of prayers that we say with other people.
The Power of Prayer
So before we go, I wanted to tell you one last story, and I think you might find this pretty encouraging. I used to go visit a person in jail just about every week, and as I waited for the person to be ready in their cell, I would spend time getting to know the guards — and the guards were such great people!
On one occasion, I was waiting to see my person, and a guard came up to me and said, “Hey Father, I want your blessing!” I said, “Alright, let me go see my person, and when I get back, we can pray together.” So I see my guy and as I’m leaving, I see the guard, and I said, “Hey, would you like to pray together? He says, “No, no no, I don’t want to pray together, I want your blessing.” So what did I do? I prayed with him. And so, I decided I would pray a very short prayer, and he wasn’t very open about what he needed – just that he had some health issues and that he wanted a blessing. So I said, “Heavenly Father, we pray for your son. He desires some healing for his Health. In the name of Jesus, heal your son right now.”
Well, I leave, and then a week later, I come back to see my person in jail, and the guard comes up to me, and he looked very shocked and surprised. He said, “Father, you will never guess what happened.” I said, “Well tell me.” He said, “I was all lined up to have my operation. I was on the table, and the doctor comes in with the last final x-ray, and the doctor says, ‘I can’t explain it, but your tumor has shrunk down to a size that does not require any kind of operation. Today, you’re not going to be operated on. Go home.” He said, “Father, I am just so shocked, I cannot believe this could happen. Thank you so much for praying with me.” Now, in this case, with this gentlemen, I decided to only pray a very short prayer with him. The prayer was only like 5 to 10 seconds long, because I wanted to respect the fact that we were in public, and I didn’t want to embarrass him. Sometimes, the short prayer is the good prayer.
So, before we go, I want to offer my blessing to you, and I want to encourage you to practice, practice, practice. Please bow your heads, and let’s pray for God’s blessing.
Father in Heaven, I thank you for all the men and women who are praying novenas — praying that your blessings will come into their life, for themselves and for their friends and the world, in the name of Jesus, receive their intentions, and bless your sons and daughters. We ask this all through Christ the Lord, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
And God bless you all!
About Fr. Anthony Co
Father Anthony Co grew up in the western suburbs of Chicago. While completing his studies of philosophy and Eastern religions at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Fr. Anthony received his calling to the priesthood. Immediately after graduating from U of I, Fr. Anthony entered Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary and for the next five years he prepared for Holy Orders for the Diocese of Peoria, IL. He was ordained to the priesthood at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in 2005 and offered his Mass of Thanksgiving on the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.
Father Anthony has served throughout the Diocese of Peoria, ministering to college students and various parishes. He is now pastor of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Andalusia and a college chaplain.