National Day of Prayer

Barb Spies, OFS, Director of Mission Services and Pastoral Care

In 1952, Congress established by law a national day of prayer. The history of this decision is an interesting read, if you want to know more. But, the main idea at the time was the concerns for the nation during the Korean War. As has been done through history, a call for fasting and prayer occurred, but also became a regular fixture on the nation’s calendar. Now, on the first Thursday of each May, we observe this day of prayer. We will be participating in the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 2, at 11:30 in the Gardens Reflection Room.

St. Padre Pio said, “One must keep one’s heart turned toward Heaven and wait from there the heavenly dew.” The simplicity of this statement reminds us that prayer doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be created with perfection in order that God will listen to us. I like to think of prayer as a conversation with a friend or family member who cares so much about me that they don’t judge. God is not concerned that my words are perfect, that my posture is upright, that my attire is appropriate. I can pray in my pajamas, my jeans, or my professional clothes! My prayer can be as simple as “Help me!” or as long and complicated as a rambling story.

I follow a blogger who every once in a while posts a picture of a bird with the caption, “Actual photo of the Holy Spirit …” then some statement about our struggles of the day, like, “giving you some support today. You’ve got this.” Or “reminding you to come up for some air.”  These posts remind me that God is everywhere and always offering support. One of the simplest  prayers that I learned from a student of mine who was studying to be a priest is, “Come, Holy Spirit.” His devotion to always seeking out the guidance of the Holy Spirit led me to a prayer of St. Augustine that I offer here in conclusion:

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too may be holy.

Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.

Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.

Guard me, O Holy Spirit, that I may always be holy.

Blessed Angela: “Before you begin to pray concentrate respectfully on the presence of God. Pray with attention.”

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