TACKED THOUGHTS - Nancy Unchuan Toledo (The Freeman) - October 20, 2019 - 12:00am

For my entire adult life with the exception of a year or two, I’ve gone on a retreat at least once a year. A Christian spiritual retreat is the act of withdrawing from one’s usual day-to-day activities to spend time in prayer. This can last for a few days into a month or more. There are different versions as there are many ways in which one can pray.

One thing I have learned from observing others on retreat is that they both beg for prayers and offer prayers for others as well.  They might say something like: “Send me a private message if you have a particular intention as I will be on retreat for the next couple days or so.” Whenever I solicit prayers from family or friends, I’m always happily surprised at how open they are with their prayers.

I’ve always been rather reserved about my prayer life. While I talk about my faith life and am very open about my religious practices, I usually reserve sharing my prayer intentions for my closest of friends. But over the years, I’ve found that allowing myself to be vulnerable in front of others by sharing my heart’s deepest desires enables me to grow in humility and docility.

Just this week, I asked my students to share their prayer intentions with me if they wanted me to pray over them during my retreat. And when I read their intentions, I was touched by their selflessness and compassion. Many of them did not only pray for their own needs but for the needs of their family and friends as well.  And I found a surprising number of them knew exactly what their loved ones needed. It was not merely a general statement of happiness or good health, but they clearly outlined the graces that they begged for like peace, healing, and wisdom.

More and more I am convinced that I am sustained by the prayers of others. I look forward when I can look back at my life and see the fruits of intercessory prayers. Then, I can thank every single person, saint, and angel who prayed for me and the generous God who heard all their prayers.

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