We often forget just how very powerful the prayer of intercession can be.
And we are not alone in forgetting this – even the great Saint Faustina, the Apostle of Divine Mercy, tended to forget it at times. Her Diary is filled with occasions where she was reminded of her call to pray for other people and for a whole variety of intentions – some spiritual, others very pratical – and of the power of doing so.
In Notebook II of her Diary, the Merciful Jesus tells her very clearly –
“As for Me, I bestow special graces on those souls for whom you intercede.” (para.599)
It is the same with us; the Lord loves to hear us call out to Him on behalf of other souls and He is very generous with the graces He offers when we do so.
The authentic prayer of intercession is forgetful of self – it about the other soul. Indeed often, the othe soul will never know that we are praying for them. It is not necessary for them to know. However, it may be that in letting that soul know someone is praying for them, that knowledge will achieve some good – but that good should be the glory of God, not our own glory. When our intentions is corrupted, then we should not expect our prayers to be answered for they were self-serving from the beginning.
Intercessory prayer is a way of reaching out of ourselves, placing the needs of others before our own, and undertaking what the Church calls a ‘spiritual work of mercy’. And that is always a good thing, when our intention is pure as noted already.
It is also a good way of helping those we cannot help in any other way. Our brief, even if very brief and simple (perhaps especially when very brief and simple) is also very effective, for the Lord is intently listening.
Finally, the prayer of intercession echoes an intention clearly present in the Lord’s own prayer – He speaks of ‘us’ rather than ‘me’, of ‘our’ rather than ‘mine’. In other words, intercessory prayer reminds us that we are a ‘people of God’ rather than many individuals, a ‘pilgrim people’ and not a solitary walker upon the road of life.
Look today for occasions when you can pray quietly for another – pray with confidence, with insistence and with perseverance, trusting that – as the Lord told St Faustina – He will bestow many graces on those for whom we pray.