Feeling Close to Heaven
As I take communion to shut-ins, I ask them to offer prayer intentions which is enriching for me. Ministry of prayer for me is multifaceted: private, one-on-one and communal. I feel ministry of prayer is a ministry of care.
My prayer practice has definitely changed since I entered the Congregation of the Humility of Mary in 1960. It is much less formal and rigidly structured. Morning Office is said with a group at church after Mass. An effective way of praying the rosary for me is to include an individual intention with each hail Mary to keep me more focused. I usually do this as I take my daily walk.
As I age, my prayer has become more thanksgiving than petition. I do more simple conversing with God as a friend and not a judgmental, unapproachable, powerful ruler--using more informal words of conversation.
My most meaningful recent prayer experience took place on a helicopter ride to the hospital following my June 18, 2016, heart attack. My good friend, Mike, had just passed away in a Hospice facility two weeks before and I had spent time and prayed with him during his last days as well as doing a reading at his funeral. As I was lifted into the sky I told Mike we were going to meet again sooner than we thought. My father had literally died on his feet and I had tried to revive him to no avail. I asked God to let me go quickly like my father but that apparently was not the plan. During that ride I felt very close to heaven and experienced great peace.
A prayer that I offer many times each day is from the Passionist priests; I love its simplicity...
Lord, in my present need, help me to believe that you are aware of my anxiety and will do what is best for me. Give me the strength to trust You and put the present and future in your merciful hands. I ask this in the name of Jesus, Your son. Amen.