A new Internet portal seeks to build a community of prayer by encouraging people to share their prayer intentions with local religious and pray for one another online. The “Pray for me” webpage enables visitors to submit their prayers, which are shared with the Sisters Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará, an order of cloistered nuns in Brooklyn.
“Our lives are devoted to prayer. We remember those intentions during our day,” said Mother María Del Redentor, superior of the St. Edith Stein Convent located in Precious Blood Monastery, Borough Park. “Jesus said, ‘Watch and pray.’ … It’s in God’s plan that we help one another through prayer.”
The project is an initiative of the Diocese of Brooklyn and DeSales Media Group, the communications and technology arm of the diocese and parent company of The Tablet.
John-Mark de Palma, DeSales product manager for digital operations, explained that after submitting an online form with prayer intentions, the Sister Servants will pray for them from 5:45 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Anybody in need of prayers can submit their intentions. Visitors can also choose to make their prayer intentions visible on the webpage, so others can pray with them. This helps build a community of prayer, de Palma added.
“Prayer is important because it focuses your spiritual conversation with God,” he said. “This page is a vehicle to pray.”
The Power of Prayers
The name for the project was inspired by Pope Francis’ repeated requests during his papal visit to the U.S. this September: “Pray for me.” A Spanish version of the website – “Reza por mí” – was to be launched later this month, so the diocese’s Spanish speakers can submit their intentions in the sisters’ native language.
One always has needs, which is why praying for others’ needs is “a great act of love of God and one’s neighbor,” Mother Redentor said. “It is an act of charity when we pray for others.”
Contemplative religious like the Servant Sisters give their lives to pray for others.
At his general audience Nov. 18, Pope Francis reminded people that on Nov. 21 the Church celebrates the Pro Orantibus, a time to pray and support cloistered religious communities.
“On this occasion, we thank the Lord for the gift of the vocation of men and women who, in monasteries and hermitages, have dedicated their lives to God,” he said. “Let us not be remiss in our duty of spiritual and material closeness to them, in order that cloistered communities might be able to fulfill their important mission of prayer and silent work.”
“We offer everything we do trying to please God and make an intercession, so people can receive what they ask through our prayers,” Mother Redentor said.
There are different forms of prayers: adoration, reparation, petition and worship, she explained. In asking things through prayer for others or for one’s needs, people recognize their dependence on God.
“This makes us humble and makes us trust in God because there are things that only God can give,” she added. “It is in the plan of God that some things be granted through prayer.”
The page already has prayers including intentions asking for world peace, healing for loved ones, family unity, people in need of employment, and for those who are suffering from hunger and poverty.
De Palma said he was happy the page was launched before the holidays, a great time to get closer to God and to remember others in prayer.
“I feel absolutely blessed to have been able to bring this project to light and to completion,” de Palma said. “Hopefully people are inspired to pray, to have a conversation with God.”
Prayer intentions can be submitted on the diocesan website by going to: dioceseofbrooklyn.org/prayforme/.