Does Intercessory prayer help?

Marlon De La Torre

Director of Catechesis

North Texas Catholic

4/21/2017

Imagine if everyone around us came to the realization that praying for someone is actually quite a simple act. We would all be constant intercessors for everyone around us, especially our family and friends. The irony here is something that, in many respects, is so simple and not necessarily time consuming, is quite often overlooked or completely ignored.

When you take the time to reflect on the act of prayer it provides an opportunity to communicate with Christ for the sake of others and not necessarily ourselves. This is what the act of intercessory prayer is really meant to be: a way of looking after the spiritual well-being of others before ourselves. An intercessor intimately and intentionally prays for someone’s spiritual and corporal needs rooted in Christ and reflective of the sacrificial nature offered to us out of love.

St. Thérèse the Little Flower would describe prayer as a “surge of the heart, a simple look toward heaven embracing both trial and joy”(CCC 2558). Her succinct explanation reveals the premise behind intercessory prayer as a Christ-like communication which when applied within the marital covenant strengthens the bond of grace between spouses.

The Fruit of Prayer in Marriage
The fruit of prayer results in a clearer uninterrupted communication with Christ especially in our understanding of the Paschal Mystery. Christ gave us the sacraments as a means of recognizing who we are as children of God, and in turn, maturing in this relationship through Him in the sacraments.

It is in this maturation of grace where intercessory prayer serves as a vital component of the marital covenant between man and woman. If the Church teaches that the vocation to marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they came from the hand of the Creator (CCC 1603), then it makes sense for the married couple to continually strengthen this vocation by way of interceding for one another. This means that “I” as a husband, place my wife’s needs before my own. It also focuses on the sacrificial character inherent in the sacrament of holy matrimony as an offering of one another in Christ. St. Augustine reflects this notion in describing the loving bond of spouses:

“The deepest desire of the human heart is to see another and be seen by that other’s loving look” (Sermon 69).

Practical Ways to Intercede for Your Spouse
The Catechism (1641) teaches us that the grace proper to the sacrament of matrimony is intended to perfect the couple’s love and to strengthen their indissoluble unity and also to help one another to attain holiness in their married life and in welcoming and educating their children. Against this backdrop, here are some practical ways we can intercede for our spouses:

  • Set aside 10 to 15 minutes every morning before you do anything else and pray for your spouse by either meditating on sacred Scripture or reflecting on the saint of the day for his or her behalf.
  • Call upon your spouse’s patron saint to intercede for them.
  • Incorporate a Divine Mercy Chaplet in your daily routine and offer the intentions of your marriage for spiritual growth.
  • If you want to take it up a level, fasting for your spouse is a fruitful way of placing his or her needs above yours especially during challenging times.
  • Setting some time in Adoration once a week as a means of strengthening your marital covenant.
  • If possible, attend a daily Mass and offer up your spouse’s intentions for that week.

Our marital covenant calls us to pray for our spouses. The distinctive character of the sacrament of holy matrimony is its indissolubility. The union of man and woman cannot be separated because of the gift of grace conferred to one another. It is a unique bond that perfectly complements man and women before the eyes of God and is affirmed by Him. St. John of the Cross reminds us of this indissolubility in the following way:

Tenderly in His arms He’ll take her with all the love that God can give and draw her nearer to the Father all in unison to live.

Imagine if everyone around us came to the realization that praying for someone is actually quite a simple act. We would all be constant intercessors for everyone around us, especially our family and friends. The irony here is something that, in many respects, is so simple and not necessarily time consuming, is quite often overlooked or completely ignored.

Published (until 12/12/2039)
Back