Bishop Hughes invites all of us to do something that might be a first for us – to write down our prayers during this pandemic and share them with the diocese, as a way to help each other. (Time: 4:13.)
This is Bishop Hughes in the Diocese of Newark and I want to talk with you about prayer. Prayer has been on my mind, and especially because I keep wondering about the specific prayers we might be saying on our own in response to living through a pandemic.
I think often when we pray, we pray for people that we know, we pray for situations that we don't understand or that need help, and especially during this time of pandemic we've been praying for people in medical professions, for essential workers, for rescue workers, for all kinds of people that are helping us all to stay safe. We pray for the people that we know and that we love but that we cannot see with any regularity. We pray for the people that we love who've gone on before us and are no longer here for us to see because they have gone to the heavenly country.
There are all kinds of things that we pray for, and I don't think it crosses our minds that our prayers – to hear them -- actually help someone else. To read them could be a blessing to someone else.
So I'm going to ask you to do something that might be a first for you. I'm going to ask you to write your prayers. In particular, to write a prayer that you would consider sharing with the rest of the diocese as a way for us to help each other out through our prayers. What I want to do is gather a group of our prayers at a place that we publish on the website, and that we call these prayers "Prayers of Pandemic from the Diocese of Newark." I invite you to be a part of that, that you can write your own individual prayer -- it doesn't have to look like a collect from the prayer book, or it could. Or you could write those prayers with children who are in your life, with members of your family or with a group of friends. Maybe it's your Bible study or your prayer group that writes those prayers together. But I'm asking you to spend some time thinking about how you want to pray and how your words put together in prayer could be helpful to other people, and to send those in to us so that we are able to help each other through prayer.
Almost everywhere I go these days I've been asking people to write a prayer and to send it in to us at the diocese, and someone actually listened to me and did it. I want to thank Jewels Quelly at St. James' in Hackettstown for writing a prayer. Her prayer was very specific in that it addresses the needs of people who are in health care. Let me share it with you.
"Our dearest Holy Father, we see your fortifying hand everywhere in the world around us.
We come to you to ask that you to shine down your special favor on our health care professionals and volunteers.
Give them strength, so that they may go on, both for their patients and in their own lives.
Give them clarity, so that in the midst of tired shoulders, achy feet, and burdened spirits, they have the ability to know what to do next.
And dear Father, give them reconciliation. These selfless servants put themselves in harm’s way for so many reasons. Many of them are witnessing death; some for the first time. Help them find blessings and relief through their heartache.
We ask all this, through your son, our Holiest Redeemer, Lord Jesus Christ. Amen."
And amen to all of your prayers.