Pray Without Ceasing
“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Have you ever acted on behalf of someone else? What does it feel like?
Have you ever experienced someone else acting on your behalf? What does it feel like?
The dictionary defines “intercession” as one who intercedes, that is, to speak to someone in order to defend or help another person.
One form of prayer moves us partially to take up the task of evangelization and to seek the good of others: it is the prayer of intercession. (Evangelii Gaudium, 281)
Intercession is a prayer of petition (CCC, 2634); and it participates both in (1) evangelization; and (2) the good of others. When we pray in behalf of another, we share in the work of building the Kingdom of God. The Church has always acted on behalf of its members through prayer for the work of evangelization and mission. The Church is always at prayer.
If the Church is always at prayer then we too in community should always be in prayer because we are part of the Church. Saint Paul exhorted the early Christian communities to pray without ceasing (cf. 1 Thes 5:17). We are only able to pray without ceasing, if we are full of love—Love for God and Love for neighbour.
The best way for us to show such love is to intercede for each other. We in CFC YFL should be ready to intercede for one another, to stand in behalf of another, because of our relationship with God and with each other.
THE H.E.A.R.T. OF AN INTERCESSOR
[Saint Paul wrote:] I urge you, [brothers,] by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in struggle by your prayers to God on my behalf (1 Thessalonians 12:25)
Saint Paul was interceding for the many different churches and at the same time asking these churches to pray for him and the other apostles too. If interceding for another requires a relationship with God then intercessory prayers is a matter of the heart.
Now, Moses himself was by far the meekest man on the face of the earth. . . . [The LORD said:] Through my house he bears my trust: face to face I speak to him, plainly and not in riddles. The presence of the LORD he beholds. (Numbers 12:3, 7b-8)
An intercessor must know that God is God and he is not. Humility moves one to know that nothing he has is because he deserved it or worked hard for it. Humility is to think like that of Saint John the Baptist: “God must increase. I must decrease.” What is the fruit of humility? Just like Moses, our prayers will reach God’s ears and heart.
When evangelizers rise from prayer, their hearts are more open (Evangelii Gaudium, 282)
The word enthusiastic finds its root in “en Theos”. This means to be “filled with God”. An enthusiastic heart is a heart deeply rooted in God and his love. An enthusiastic heart is a heart is about loving God and letting one’s self be loved by God fully. This happens when we constantly pray; when we constantly talk to God. With this, an intercessor whose heart is enthusiastic is able to find God in all things.
[Saint Paul wrote:] humbly regard others as more important than yourselves, each looking out not for his own interests, but [also] everyone for those of others. (Philippians 2:4)
An intercessor must be attentive both to the will of God and to the needs of others. Since In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others”, even to the point of praying for those who do him harm (CCC 2635). The heart of an intercessor must constantly listen to God and constantly look on others.
4. Rejoices at all times
[Saint Paul wrote:] praying always with joy in my every prayer for all of you (Philippians 2:4)
An intercessor must never see the prayer of intercession as a burden but rather as a source of his joy. Joy is a sign of our relationship with God. Joy must be seen from within us as we bring to God the help our brothers and sisters need. Furthermore, as joy is a reason for our prayer, joy also is a fruit of our prayer. The one who prays rejoices in being able to stand in behalf of another towards God.
[Saint Paul wrote:] I give thanks to my God always on your account for the grace of God bestowed on you in Christ Jesus. (1 Corinthians 1:4)
Saint Paul has always thanked God for others (cf. Romans 1:8, 1 Corinthians 1:4, Philippians 1:3). An intercessor sees, above all, the goodness of God in the life of the community and is constantly thankful to God for such gift. The gratitude of the intercessor is rooted in recognizing what God is doing in the lives of others (cf. EG 282).
PRAY WITHOUT CEASING!
These are the things we, as CFC YFL, will be doing in interceding for our community.
1. Intercessory prayers at Masses
At all the Masses of our community, we add in the Prayers of the Faithful the following petitions:
- That the Lord may bless Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life in her life and mission of evangelization and family renewal, especially her leaders, Tito Frank Padilla, Bishop Gabby Reyes, Father Francis Gustilo, and the Apostolic Board.
- That the Lord may bless CFC Youth for Family and Life in her pastoral work in making all youth know Christ, especially her leaders, Kuya Joseph Tesoro, Kuya Dylan Reyes, and all fulltime pastoral workers and mission volunteers.
- That the Lord may bless the work of Catholic lay evangelization in the Live Christ Share Christ Movement, especially the movement’s workers and partners.
2. Rosary at all our assemblies
At all YFL assemblies, trainings, and households, it is a non-negotiable to start the activity with praying the Rosary. We ask for the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary to help our community.
The format of our Rosary:
- CFC YFL Intercessory Prayer
- Rosary proper
- CFC FFL Prayer to Mary, Mediatrix of Grace
- CFC FFL Community Prayer 2016
3. Pray-day Fridays
All Fridays of the month will be set as a day for all CFC YFL’s to pray for the community. Every Friday, all CFC YFL’s is to pray the Rosary for the intentions of the community. It is highly encouraged that we pray at 3:00 PM or, if not possible, at any given time.
4. One YFL Day
Every first Friday of the month is our ministry’s One YFL Day. Together with wearing our community shirts on that day as a way of our “subliminal” evangelization, we will also set the day for fasting. As from the teachings of the Church, our fast for the entire day is 1 full meal and 2 small meals, no snacks, and only water for drinks. As One YFL Day falls on a Friday, so it follows that it is also a Pray-day Friday.
All our prayers and fasts will be offered for the intentions of:
- CFC FFL Community, especially for…
- Tito Frank Padilla, our Servant General
- Bishop Gabby Reyes DD and Father Francis Gustilo SDB, our community’s spiritual directors
- All members of the Apostolic Board
- CFC YFL Ministry, especially for…
- Kuya Joseph Tesoro, our Family Ministries Director
- Kuya Dylan Reyes, our Ministry Coordinator
- All fulltime pastoral workers and mission volunteers
- Live Christ Share Christ Movement
CFC YFL INTERCESSORY PRAYER
O Jesus, have mercy on us for we are sinners.
We beg for your love and mercy for our community, Couples for Christ Foundation for Family and Life, and for her leaders especially for Tito Frank Padilla, our Servant General, for Bishop Gabby Reyes and Father Francis Gustilo SDB, our community’s spiritual directors, and for the community’s Apostolic Board.
We also beg for your love and mercy for our youth ministry, CFC Youth for Family and Life, and for her leaders especially for Kuya Joseph Tesoro, our Family Ministries Director, for Kuya Dylan Reyes, our YFL Ministry Coordinator, and for all fulltime pastoral workers and mission volunteers.
We also beg for your love and mercy for our mainstream lay evangelization, the Live Christ Share Christ Movement, and for her workers and partners in the mission.
We offer our prayers through the intercession of our Mother Mary together with all the angels and saints. We pray . . .
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided.
Inspired by this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my mother; to you do I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer me.
Mary, Help of Christians, pray for us!
CFC FFL PRAYER TO MARY, MEDIATRIX OF ALL GRACE
We kneel before you, as you yourself sit at the throne room of God, beside our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, your Son. You more than anyone else embody the pure love for our Lord Jesus that we all desire to have, as you bore him in your womb, gave birth to him, raised him, suffered with him through the cross, and finally witnessed his resurrection. You are the one whose soul perfectly proclaims the greatness of the Lord, whose spirit perfectly rejoices in God our Savior. You are the one we and all ages will call blessed.
You are the highly favored one, and the Lord is truly with you. We thus look to you to be our Mediatrix, as we continue on our journey in the world, proclaiming your Son Jesus and bringing his good news of salvation to all. We recognize our weakness and sinfulness, and that apart from the power of God’s Spirit we can do nothing.
Dear Mother Mary, you are our inspiration for the strengthening of families and the promotion of the culture of life. Pray and intercede for us always, that we may remain faithful to our covenant, steadfast in our work, persevering despite trials and crosses, and always mindful of the call to holiness and discipleship. You who are holy and you who are the most faithful disciple of our Lord Jesus Christ, keep us in your loving embrace always.
We consecrate ourselves, our families and our work to you. Bless us, dear Mother, and journey with us, as we continue to journey with your beloved Son Jesus. You are our mother, and we are your children, now and forever. Amen.
Hail Mary …
CFC FFL COMMUNITY PRAYER 2016
Almighty Father, in the richness of your mercy you sent your own Son Jesus into the world to suffer and die for us. As you did not spare your own Son, we confidently look to your granting us everything else besides. May your mercy and grace be always upon us.
Lord Jesus Christ, you told us to be merciful just as our Father is merciful. You showed us the way to mercy when on the cross you forgave those who crucified you. Such divine mercy is very challenging for us. Only in you and through your grace in our lives can we ever hope to be channels of mercy to others. Jesus, we trust in you.
Holy Spirit, help us to understand the mystery of divine mercy. Help us to forgive those who trespass against us. Help us to love our enemies. Help us to love and care for the poor. Enable us to effectively proclaim the gospel of God’s mercy. Show us the way to holiness unto the Lord.
Mama Mary, full of grace and Mother of mercy, guide us in the way we are to go, and keep us in your loving embrace always.