We are a group of Catholic men and women, religious and laity, who want to share God’s love with others, especially with those who are most in need of His graces. We believe that God has given His love to the world and has graced the world with religious communities who are vehicles of His love. We want to spread the Good News that one way God’s love is revealed is through the prayerful presence of His people. Prayers Unite the World is simply a way to light our lives with God’s love.
Three incidents inspired the creation of Prayers Unite the World. The first occurred when Brother Anthony Weber from the Abbey of Our Lady of the Genesee gave Ed Lawrence, a Religious Studies teacher at Archbishop Ryan High School in Philadelphia a video tape which contained an interview with Mother Gail Fitzpatrick of Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey. In the video, Mother Gail remarked that the nuns receive great satisfaction from praying for others who they do not know and probably will never know and Lawrence saw how moved his students were at those words.
The second incident occurred after Lawrence posted a picture of the seven martyred Trappist monks from Notre-Dame de l’Atlas in Tibhirine on a Communion of Saints collage in his classroom. One night, he came across the Monastery’s website and informed the monks, who were managing the site, of their martyred brothers' picture on his classroom wall and asked for prayers for his students. The monks replied that they would pray for his students and upon informing his students of this exchange, Lawrence could see how touched his students were by this spiritual connection.
The third incident occurred within a week of that experience. Alice Simonet, a cafeteria aide, asked Lawrence for prayers for her daughter-in-law. Lawrence forwarded the prayer intention to Brother Anthony, printed out the Abbey’s homepage for her, and informed her about the people praying for her family. Her acknowledgement of experiencing God’s love through this exchange and her gratitude for the Religious community praying for her intention, inspired the quest for others to have a similar experience.
After consultation with a number of Religious communities and with the technical assistance of former students, Prayers Unite the World came to be with a simple two-fold goal: first, to have people experience the spiritual power of prayer in their lives and second, to help people learn more about the communities with whom the Lord has blessed his Church.
A person types in a prayer intention.
We bundle the intention with a few other intentions into one e-mail.
We then forward the e-mail to people representing religious communities, who have pledged to pray for the petitioner’s intention.
We also e-mail back to the petitioners, informing them of the communities praying for them, and providing them with links so that they may learn of the mission and charism of the specific communities praying for them.
Col. 1: 3-14 – “We have never failed to pray for you, and what we ask God is that through perfect wisdom and spiritual understanding you should reach the fullest knowledge of his will.”
We only exist for God. Every other relationship we have exists because God’s love first brought us into existence. As such, by our thoughts, words, and deeds, we become God’s visible presence to a world so desperately in need of it.
It is through prayer that we spiritually grow, and the ongoing desire to be close to God, compels us to share this reality with others. The more we pray, the closer to God we become, the closer to God we become, the more we reflect that love to others. There are many types of prayers. There are prayers of adoration when we praise God for his love for us and the beauty of his creation. There are prayers of thankgiving when we thank God for his many blessings. There are prayers of contrition when we ask God to forgive us for rejecting his love through our thoughts, words and deeds. There are prayers of supplication when we ask for various things for family, friends, and ourselves. Each prayer brings us closer to God and closer to our reason for being.
1 Th. 5:12-22 “Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God.”
Eight hundred years ago, St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the Gospel everyday and when necessary, use words.” That means our actions are a more eloquent expression of our hearts than our words. Sr. Miriam Joannes Vahey, a member of the Sister Servants of the Immaculate Heart, lived her life preaching the Gospel everyday through her actions. Though Sister physically passed away on May 6, 1972, her acts of compassion live on through the hearts she touched.
God calls all to share his love through actions, and the very act of praying for another, makes God’s love visible to the world. With God’s help, Prayers Unite the World intends to bring people together in prayer. and multiply the acts of compassion. Sr. Miriam Joannes personified God’s love and represents the many people within the Church whose love for God compels them to share that love with others.
The Prayers Unite The World website was created, in part, through a donation from the Office of Catholic Education of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.