Praying Together

Prayer Journal-8342

A faraway friend asked me for my prayers this weekend.  Prayers for humanity, for those suffering right now in light of recent tragedies.  She told me that she does not believe in God, how could she believe in a God who allows such atrocities to occur?  But that she believes in the power of prayer, or maybe the collective positive thought, if I understood her correctly.

I have received similar messages and requests over the years, despite the fact that on this blog I typically choose to speak mainly of my family and those things that we enjoy doing.  My faith is always just beneath the surface though, an undercurrent of sorts, and ultimately it is the driving force behind my life.  And while I know that many of you (most?) don’t share my beliefs, and maybe think I am kind of nuts (I won’t argue), you tolerate me despite our differences.  And sometimes you ask me to pray for you.

While I do have strong feelings and beliefs on many topics, I am not the sort that believes strongly, and then requires others around me to agree, to believe the same.  That isn’t in my nature.  For years I have felt that I wanted my blog to be a space for anyone, because in my real life, that is how I live.  I don’t limit my relationships to those who live and believe as I do.  I don’t live in isolation.  This doesn’t change the nature of what I believe.  It just means that I am secure in my faith, and I am okay with you whether we agree or not.

But today I am feeling led to share maybe a bit more than I typically do, maybe if only for the friend who reached out and the possibility that there are others who think the same, but haven’t taken the next step to write, to ask.

I am an intelligent person, or at least there is evidence to suggest that I was before I had children.  I came to my place of religious belief after many years of struggle and questioning.  While I spent hours upon hours reading and researching before I landed in the Catholic Church, I am not a theologian, and I tend to think in simple terms.  I want to try to answer the question of suffering in the simplest terms I know.  Because I once asked those same questions, and no one could answer me.

I believe in God, God the creator, who created us out of love, for relationship with him. But he doesn’t force this relationship on us.  He gives us a choice; this is our free will.  He asks us to choose him.

Think of someone whom you love, and who loves you.  And now imagine that you were able to control people, to force them to love you.  Is that the sort of love that you would desire?  Would that even be love?

“It is never God’s will for anyone of us to suffer, though it is his will that we be free to choose him.  And unfortunately, many do not choose Him.” -Fr. Rooney, my pastor (loosely quoted)  And this is the age-old story, Adam and Eve, the garden, the apple.  There are those who of their own free will choose evil over good.  And that is why there is suffering.  Humans have chosen evil over good for centuries, and we suffer the consequences.

So again I am asked, “I don’t believe, will you pray?”  And of course I answer, “Yes.”  But my prayers carry no more strength than yours.  Your prayers are needed as well.  Ask yourself, “What can I do about suffering and evil in the world?”  Yes, you can live your life doing good, choosing good over evil.  You can pray for the victims.  But it is quite possible that the most important thing that anyone of us can do in the face of evil is to pray for the perpetrators.  To pray for their hearts to be turned.  For most of us, this is all we can do.  So whether you believe in God or not, I ask you to pray.  Pray everyday.  Pray for those who wish harm upon humanity.

And maybe that sounds silly.  I mean, how can you pray if you don’t believe?  Why bother? Well, how can you ask me to pray if you don’t believe?  Why not take a chance? Maybe you’ll feel a little like I do when I realize I am talking aloud to myself at the grocery store.  But, who cares?   Because what if there is a God waiting to hear from you?  What if your prayers can help change the world?  It’s worth the risk that you may just be talking to yourself.  Because it’s quite possible that you are wrong.  That there is indeed a God who loves the world, who truly wants good for us, despite all the suffering we see.

I am not the world’s most amazing praying Christian.  I am chasing after children and schedules and meals and laundry and I often fall into bed and realize I haven’t spoken an intentional word of prayer all day with the exception of praying before meals.  So I am going to start writing them down.  I will write my prayers down.  The friend pregnant with a child who won’t survive.  Another who recently lost his wife to cancer.  France, Lebanon, Syria.  And maybe you will join me?  Don’t want to say it out loud?  Too strange when you don’t believe anyone is listening?  Let’s write our prayers down together.  That way we won’t forget.  And if I am right about God, he will know, he will hear.


  1. Well said Ginny! Prayer is so powerful.

  2. Beautiful post. Thank you for sharing.

  3. It’s so very nice to read of your suggestion to pray for those who wish ill of others–there’s not enough of that, imo. Thanks, Ginny.

  4. So so well written. As a Christian and one who believes in the power of prayer….. This is what our savior wants from us a relationship with him and certainly to ” love one another”. Love trumps all. I am with you in praying for softened hearts of those who practice acts of unkindness. So enjoy the blog— a fellow knitter too!

  5. Thank you for this post. I believe I’m pretty much the same as you when it comes to my view of religion. I consider myself to be a Christian but some days (weeks?), there may not be enough evidence of that to convict me of it. You, Johnny and all of your children definitely seem to be kindred spirits and we all need that these days. Thank you again for being here on-line and sharing your time and your views of our world.

  6. Thanks, Ginny. I am so moved and inspired by your gentle and loving heart. Once again your vulnerability has broken something open in me. Thank you for your bravery to be who God created you to be. (I say bravery, because I find it scary to be who God made me to be. Maybe you are not scared by it. I am projecting, I think, LOL!)

  7. Thank you.

  8. thanks
    a Frenchwoman who likes to read you

  9. Simply beautiful 🙂

  10. I’ve been religious my entire life but I’m not sure I ever figured out how to pray, really pray. I will try this. It feels like it will work.

  11. This brought tears to my eyes. You are absolutely right! We all need to be praying. This year I have been trying to be more intentional about prayer. It is incredibly difficult. I have three small children, and find it overwhelming often between homeschooling and taking care of the baby to even think about praying. I have started writing down my prayers in a journal. I feel like I am more able to focus when I do that. It may sound silly, but there are so many other things that seem to pull my attention away from praying, that if I don’t write it down, I move on without completing what I set out to do originally. Thank you for sharing this!

  12. This is beautiful Ginny – God does want all of us – but for those that don’t believe, we are to be God’s truth for them – to be loving, caring, thoughtful.
    It is so hard to explain when bad things happen, but we have been given free will in a fallen world – God is not a puppeteer and even though He knows what is going to happen and could change things, sometimes He chooses not to..
    All I know is that I prayed for a restored marriage for 20 years and on the 21st year, my prayers were answered – and I know that God’s timing is perfect and if I had given up along the way, I would never had been able to experience the fullness of a loving marriage. I have one of my prayer journals still to document my prayers and it is a wonderful testimony to God’s goodness.
    Thank you for sharing more of your faith – it is something that I have decided is the core of who I am and I am going to share that on my blog or instagram, etc…
    Thinking of you.

  13. I am so glad you shared this with everyone. It speaks to my heart. I am a practicing Catholic who has not always been present as I attend Mass and I have struggled with different “issues” ( as I have seen them) within the Church. I finally feel now that I am at peace with it all and that God has heard my prayers for the restlessness of my mind and spirit. Those prayers were and are so important as I say them. I truly believe that prayer is powerful. You have created a space here where all feel welcome and I try to do the same in my blog space. Isn’t that the most important? Share our collective experiences and hold space & prayers for each other. Your words keep me reading. So, thank you!

  14. Eloquently said. I was brought up in the Catholic faith and although I believe in God and religion, I don’t often go to church due to conflicting emotions about parts of church doctrine, but I respect people of all faiths and depths of belief and practice. I enjoy your blog for a variety of reasons and I pray for peace in this world.

  15. That text touched me. I grew up in a Christian family- more out of tradition, but still. I was in a Christian youth-group and had loads of questions and views and not always this questioning was welcome by others. I ended up marrying a Jew who is not religious at all and our children don’t have a fixed term that would describe their believe. They do get to hear stories from the bible and we do discuss God- but they are free to choose, if they want one day. That leaves me somewhere not to here and not to there. I do believe there’s a God- but ask me about more details and I simply don’t know. But as you wrote so nicely- I do take “chances” and pray and I hope that my prayers will be heard. I think your text just inspired me to pray more even if I have doubts about some things and I might even start to write them down… Thank you and have a wonderful day.

  16. Beautifully said. Thank you

  17. This gave me chills. I am Catholic too but have found myself getting “lazy” with my faith and spirituality. Now is not the time. (Well, there’s never an acceptable time, but now is a really really bad time)

    Mindful prayer is on the agenda for the rest of the day.

  18. Thank you, sister, for these sweet words of encouragement today. I have been reading your blog for a while now and I so appreciate your insights–simple and true. You have usually wrestled through to the conclusion of thoughts that are just beyond my catch in my similarly busy world of “chasing after children and schedules and meals and laundry.” May God bless you and keep you and shine his light upon you and your family.

  19. Thank you for this posts. Awhile back I was feeling overwhelmed by life and decided to start allowing myself simple prayers, even though I’m not sure about the God question. It seemed odd to pray if your not sure of your faith, almost like it isn’t right to do so, but it seems to be your saying it is okay. I also liked what you said about God and free will…. I will have to think about that a bit… And that thing that Puddleglum says about believing in a beautiful story rather than believing in nothing ( even if it turns out nothing is true)…… Thanks. This was a beautiful post. And yes, I will start praying that the terrorists change their hearts too.

  20. Amen

  21. Thank you for this.

  22. I’m not a catholic but I certainly believe in god and the power of prayer. A group of women that I joined with at the weekend mentioned how useful it is to keep a prayer diary. What you want to pray for and how those prayers were answered.

  23. beautiful post. I have been Catholic all my life and my faith deepens over time.

  24. Well said, Ginny

  25. Praying. And Thank you.

  26. Such a beautiful and tender post. Lovely. Thank you.

  27. The most wonderful part of prayers are that it calms “you”..
    And if you are calmed down..your world is better, no worse that others, its just different.
    And you decide to make a good difference or not.

    I always read you Ginny, but as I am not English speaker I dont trust my writing to comment. Even though this time is an exception because your words really got into me.

    You have a lovely family.. I dont think I will survive one day in your routine! you are a really hard worker too. Dont ever forget that.

    Recemos por la paz, por nuestra paz, por la de nuestra familia y por el mundo.

  28. Maggie Gean says:

    I work a very ‘run on autopilot’ job in a meat packing plant and get to talk to God while earning my living, while driving to places when I am alone in the truck, while I am sewing or knitting. I rattle, ramble and chatter, and I believe in the existence of this far beyond my comprehension being who does actually know who I am, who we all are and does care..But He/it did seriously mean that part about our right to choose. I don’t know why those people chose to bring death and violence to others, I don’t know why they would choose that way of thinking and believing but I do know God gives them that right of free choice. And to accept the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, their actions will also be the excuse, reason, or cause for more violence and hate. I pray that the sanity of the world finds a way to overcome and help put away this hate, anger and violence, for all of us.

  29. Jimena Campos says:

    I can only say: Amen!

  30. I don’t often comment, but this was too beautiful to not chime in with a hearty “well said!”

  31. Well put!

  32. This is so beautiful, Ginny. I am a fellow Catholic Christian who has been, and will continue, praying for our world.

  33. Beautiful, Ginny. Prayer is powerful. 🙂

  34. Amen!

  35. beautifully said – I am with you – I am a believer and I am praying. I love that you all to pray with such a tender invitation.

  36. well said

  37. This sort of reminds me of something I read in one of Anne Lamott’s books (I can’t remember which now–I think it was NOT Operating Instructions, but beyond that I couldn’t say). She has a “God box”–basically, she writes down her prayer/the name of the person she’s praying for/the issue she needs help with and puts it in her God box. Sort of a physical manifestation of “give it to God.” I also like the idea of writing things down. To be honest, lately when someone asks me to pray for them–or when I get the prayer list from church–I just say a prayer right then, because I know that if I wait until it’s a “good” time then it likely won’t happen.

  38. So good, thank you.

  39. This post is beautiful, Ginny. It captures why I–comfortably agnostic–feel such a draw to your blog. You bring depth of meaning and food for thought in a way that doesn’t make me feel like I am “wrong” if different. Thank you.

    I often envy those who believe for the power of prayer. It’s an interesting reminder you gave me that, in my own way, I can engage in prayer in order to try to hope for/heal this broken, fragile, beautiful, frightening world.

    You remind me, Ginny, of my own Catholic mother–a woman of deep faith who really lives her beliefs. She had 8 kids and probably didn’t get as much time in “formal prayer” as she would have liked either. I can only hope that we all turned out well enough for her to think it was worth it! (I think she does.)

  40. Ginny, I was touched by your message. Sometimes I feel so helpless in times such as these when darkness seems to rule. But then I remember that a heartfelt prayer is powerful. God does see what is happening and He will bring justice in His time.

  41. Wonderful post, well said. I do believe, I pray, I cry, I pray some more …. in my world I couldn’t live without
    my faith, trust in God, prayers … friends like you Ginny.

    Prayers for heartbreaking “world situations” for mankind …

  42. Linda from Norway says:

    Your message was the one I tried to relay to my students today, though not so eloquently. To overcome evil with goodness… Thanks for sharing your heart!

    Warm regards,
    regular reader from Norway

  43. Thank you Ginny, for taking the moment to speak vulnerable words, to stand in the tension of suffering and hope, and to point back to a loving God. You are a blessing.

  44. Nicky Gray says:

    You are so right ! Your words are so beautiful, touching and true.
    The comments you have made are perfect for me. There is no reason why I have to ask someone to pray on my behalf. There is no reason why I can’t ask for some direction myself.
    I have been a reader of your blog for a long time and I havent felt pressured in any way by your beliefs.
    I love your posts on knitting and your children and the books that you read.

  45. I believe in the power of prayer because even if we don’t get the answer we are praying for, we are less alone when we lift up our prayers. Our pastor this Sunday described a note left in Paris that said “in the name of what?”…and although we can’t answer that, in any way that makes sense, we can respond in the name of God. Each if us can respond, whether you believe or not, by being kind, by being thoughtful, for contributing your part in whatever big or small way by simply putting goodness and care back in the part of your world you can influence. So pray, care for others, fold laundry, make a meal, listen intently, offer a hug or a touch, send a card, let a car pull out in front of you, hold a door, offer a smile. We can respond in the name of God for those who believe, or in the name of peace and love for those who do not believe.

I love to hear from you!