Everyone gets a turn in the crucible

Be God’s own, and remember I pray for you.
– Archangel Gabriel, in Jane Lebak’s Seven Archangels; Annihilation

I have a lot of prayer requests – people writing and asking me to pray for them or for friends and family. I’m always happy to do it; prayer has power, and when you’re hearing about a hard story it is so much better to know you can pray than to simply feel bad and helpless.

I’m sure others have said it, but I remember distinctly when Nancy Reagan said that “no one escapes suffering” in their lives. This is very true.

Suffering is the great leveler. It brings all of us down to the ground, and whether we rise to transcend it or break and scatter ourselves to the wind, or simply lay down and give up has a great deal to do with our willingness to live through the pain, work through all the hurt, and try to find meaning therein.

A friend of mine, a Secular Franciscan, and I were talking about the crucible. I had written:

The crucible is an interesting place, isn’t it? It’s so hard to keep perspective when one is in there. But if you can keep perspective – if you can remember to look around and see what God has for you – it’s survivable.

She responded, with much more wisdom:

The crucible is a very interesting and terrible place. More interesting once one has been poured out of it and can look back, rather than seeing it from the inside when the fire is at its hottest. I often feel like Daffy Duck: “I am not like most people. Pain hurts me.” I think its because so much of our unnecessary parts, but the parts we are so used to, have to die in that crucible so that we can become more Christ and less me-myself.

Tonight I have all these people to pray for – they’re in the crucible, and maybe you are (or someone you know is) in the crucible and could use a few prayers, too. So I thought I’d invite you to whisper up a prayer of two for these folks, and then – if you like – include a brief prayer request of your own in the comments section.

Brief is the operative word. Long stories are not necessary, only the need. In this way, perhaps we can be healers for each other and be healed, helped or comforted ourselves.

And please – keep the mindset of silence – no gushing (please, no praising me – I’m no saint and am as needy as anyone else) just leave the need; name the party and their crucible.

Almost like lighting a candle, saying a prayer and then making an exit. Focused and done in faith, it can be immensely powerful.

I pray for all of these people, most especially that their difficulties may be transcended and rendered meaningful through the workings of Grace, and that each of them may be given the Wisdom to recognize their intended paths, and the strength to follow them.

For Jim; just diagnosed with cancer. (Update: Jim has passed; please pray for his family)

For Erin., who is very ill with an infection in her lungs.

For M.S., who is facing a possible metastasizing cancer.

For W.H., a musician who has lost several fingers in a bad accident.

For B.B., another musician, who has a great attitude but lousy luck.

For J & C., working, finishing school and job-hunting, all in good faith.

For Beth, who is ill with ulcerative colitis and unable to continue her job or education.

For P.M.. who is struggling with his job and also with a personal betrayal that has affected him deeply.

For A., who is estranged from her parents and moving with a dubious crowd

For K.A., who is trying to sell her house in a soft market.

For Joe, who has a brain infection.

For Linda who has severely injured her knee.

For my L’il Bro Thom, faced with job difficulties that may require a complete career change after almost 25 years.

For B.M., who is dealing with insecurity and trying to overcome the pride that gets in his way.

For Matt, Nicholas, Elizabeth and Lauren, all at different stages of their religious vocations and feeling challenged.

For E.M. who is trying to lose a lot of weight and struggling with it.

For T, who is isolated.

For J & D who have extended themselves generously to a difficult family member. Very difficult.

For Cole & Luci who have mild Asperger Syndrome and for their incredibly good, faithful parents.

For Lucy, mother of two, dealing with recurrent cancer.

For J, who is HIV positive and for his family who has lost another to AIDS.

For D.B., struggling to overcome addiction.

For D.K. who is being unjustly slandered and shunned at her job.

For A.B., mourning the death of her husband.

Please pray for me, also.

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