Prayer is the raising of mind and heart to God. Through prayer we make ourselves available to God so he can use us as vessels of his grace. We also pray to seek forgiveness, as well as to praise, thank, and petition God for our needs and the needs of others. As children of God, we should feel free to ask him humbly for all legitimate needs and desires, without restriction.

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 Vicarious Prayer

Some people are unable to pray for a variety of reasons. Infants are too young to be articulate. Others are unconscious, suffering from dementia, or otherwise too ill to pray. Still others are distracted by worldly concerns and forgetful. And so we offer prayers in their stead. For example:

O Almighty God, for all those who will offer up no prayers today and especially those who are unable to pray, please allow me/us to say, "Our Father, who art in heaven..."

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Prayer to St. Raphael the Archangel

The name Raphael means "God has healed." This archangel does not appear in the Hebrew scriptures, only in the Septuagint, in the Book of Tobias. Of the seven "archangels" that appear in the angelology of post-Exilic Judaism, Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael are the only three mentioned in the canonical scriptures. The patron of healing and travel, Raphael is worth getting to know.

“Raphael of the glorious seven who stand before
the throne of Him who lives and reigns;
Angel of health, the Lord has filled thy hand with
balm from heaven to soothe and cure our pain.
Heal and console the victims of disease and guide our
steps when doubtful of our ways.”

Holy Raphael, I entreat thee to help me in all my needs
and in all the trials of this life. And since thou art the
“physician” of God, I pray thee to heal my soul of its many
infirmities, and my body of the ills that afflict it, if this
favor be for my greater good.
I plead for angelic purity that I may be fit to be the
living temple of the Holy Spirit.       

Vouchsafe, O Lord God, to direct thy Holy Archangel
Raphael to our help, and may he whom we believe to be
ever in attendance on thy majesty, present our poor prayers
to thee for thy blessing, through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth
and reigneth world without end.       

And then there’s this: the opening lyrics of the famous David Foster/Carole Bayer Sager song “The Prayer.” Even though the song was not intended as a supplication to St. Raphael for guidance when “doubtful of our ways,” it certainly serves that purpose.

I pray you'll be our eyes
And watch us where we go
And help us to be wise
In times when we don't know.

Let this be our prayer when we lose our way
Lead us to a place
Guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe…

Make Me a Vessel of Your Grace

O Lord God, please place me where you want me to be, introduce me to the people you want me to meet, and otherwise direct my actions so that I may always be available to you as vessel of your grace. Amen.