A Few Words about our Prayerline

Nuns pray. It’s what we do, day in, day out. Our prayer takes many forms. In the Divine office we seek to hallow the different hours of the day and mark the unfolding of the liturgical calendar with an ancient form of prayer derived chiefly from the scriptures and early Christian writings (the so-called Fathers of the Church). There is also the slow, meditative prayer of lectio divina — what you might call the characteristic activity of the Benedictine — and the simple, uncluttered, contemplative prayer of the individual, which proceeds from and flows back into the Divine Office and lectio divina. In addition to these, there is intercessory prayer. One of the chief ways in which you might have come across this is via our email prayerline, which is open every minute of every day. People name their requests for prayer and send them to us via the form supplied. Complete anonymity is assured. We in our turn read through the requests and take them into our prayer.

Recently, we have noticed a new development. Some people are happy to take us at our word, and the little message we send assuring them of our prayer is enough. Others, however, have begun to ask us to send emails or letters to reassure them that we are indeed praying for them. I have come to dislike that very much. To begin with, I think it was just my curmudgeonly nature asserting itself. Another email to send! I wasn’t happy, either, at the idea of breaking the guarantee of anonymity surrounding prayer requests. If we enter into correspondence with one, why not with another? How would we manage to keep up, anyway? But then I began to think a little more about why I was so irritated and realised that it wasn’t just the thought of having to send another email/breaking anonymity. Asking for assurance that we are praying is very like saying, I don’t really trust you; yet trust at the heart of intercessory prayer. We name our need to God, trusting in his love and mercy. Prayer isn’t magic; and we don’t (or shouldn’t) demand of God that he ‘prove’ himself to us. Our prayer reflects the nature of our belief in and about God, and I think the way in which our email prayerline operates should, too.

So, if you have sent in any request for prayer, please take my word for it that your request has been read and either has been, or will be, taken before the Lord in prayer. What he chooses to do with it is his business. I think we can safely leave it up to him don’t you?

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10 thoughts on “A Few Words about our Prayerline”

  1. Even though I agree with you I cant help but remember St Therese, the Little Flower, who insisted on a sign from God that her prayer were being heard and answered.

  2. Intecessory prayer is a great privilege – it demands faith, trust and acceptance. You do a wonderful job of all three! Bless you, Sisters All.

  3. It does all come down to Trust. But not trust in our fellow humans, Trust in God, Our Father. My day is filled with prayer, all sorts of prayer; praise, thanksgiving, intercessions etc. but mostly the constant ‘chatter’ of my thoughts through the day in conversations with He who is my Father. One of the most challenging prayers I say daily is that of abandonment. I put myself into His hands to do with as He will, accepting whatever happens as His Will, made in a far fuller knowledge than I will ever possess. This can be so difficult when I have to place the lives of my loved ones into His hands and say ‘she’s yours O God, you love her with a passion that I can’t even begin to fathom, she’s your child, I Trust you will care for her and know what’s best.’ We humans are a species of control freaks. We want to say ‘do this’ and have it done (along with a receipt for proof!) but ultimately we have to place our lives in the hands of Our Father and Trust in Him.

  4. As a grateful user of the prayerline, I’ve found your automated reply that assures the user that their prayer request has been received very helpful.
    Your daily FB prayer intentions often include petitions for users of the prayerline. This makes it much less of an ‘us and them’, ‘nuns and laity’, the ‘prayers and the prayed for’ process and more of an activity for a wider community.
    Thank you, Sisters for creating and sustaining this prayerline that allows us all to pray for each other.

  5. I have been & remain resolutely blessed by your prayers … whether acknowledged or not.
    Bless you for the ministry you undertake on behalf of the rest of us. As Sister Catherine already knows, I find it very difficult to pray for myself … but much easier to pray for others. Thank God I know that you & many others pray for me & my family 🙂

  6. I am more grateful than I can express for your prayers, and for those of the community.

    Isn’t it in the nature of our Christian faith to trust that we are being prayed for when a promise has been made? St Paul bids us to be ‘filled with all Hope in believing’. That is what gives prayer its charge. In the Gospels, Christ says that seeking a sign is in itself symptomatic of a ‘wicked’ generation. However we choose to construe that word, the implications are clear. Ultimately, it is God we are distrusting to give us the good things we ask in his name.

    Wishing you strength of every kind. And Peace.

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