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The Story Behind a Prayer for Peace

During my personal journey of spiritual growth, I encountered the owner of our local Catholic Bookstore, an incredible woman. No doubt, what people say about her being an angel on earth is true. My offer to help with her website, was met with the suggestion that my skills might be more useful in creating a prayer card to give away on the counter near the register. She shared the story of a young Anglican evangelist and rosary maker who told her that what the world needed to address the persecution and beheading of Christians by terrorists was for their leadership to experience a Damascus conversion, like St. Paul.

I studied Acts 9, prayed for guidance, and wrote to my pastor and a spiritual friend. I also left myself open to the Lord’s input, placed my trust in Him and worked on the project intermittently while living my commitment to continue to grow spiritually.

One morning after a weekday Mass, I considered signing up for a period of Eucharistic Adoration, my first. I was looking over the available times on the schedule when an elderly man walked up to me and said, “Put your name in that spot where there are no names.” Unfortunately, I had a business meeting just before that hour and knew I’d be hard pressed to make it on time. He interrupted my hesitation saying, “Just put your name there. It won’t matter. Someone will be here. Just don’t leave it blank.” Then he turned, slowly walked away, and left the church.

My day of Eucharistic Adoration arrived and I rushed from that business meeting with precious minutes to spare. I laughed as I raced up Dixie Hwy to church saying to myself, yeah right! Just put your name there, it won’t matter. Like I’m going to let myself be late for a date with Jesus! What was I thinking? I held my breath, driving carefully but as quickly as the law and traffic would allow.

When I arrived, the school children in the front pews were finishing their short period of adoration following their Mass, so I slipped into one of the back pews. When they left, I moved myself up to the front and knelt.

The monstrance was beautiful! I had never seen one up close before. I offered a steady flow of praise and thanksgiving. I had decided my Eucharistic Adoration wasn’t going to be a time of praying for my needs or the needs of others. I was so grateful for my beautiful journey of spiritual growth that I just had to offer thanks and praise to The One. I had recently gotten to know Jesus a little better, and was enjoying a growing connection to Him.

Within moments, something mysterious started happening. It came to me that I was to put the Lord’s Prayer on the back of that card. I was startled. I wasn’t praying for anything. I wasn’t asking. I wasn’t even thinking about the prayer card. In fact, I hadn’t thought about it at all that day.

Again, I understood, “The Lord’s Prayer, on the back, first and foremost.”

OK, I’ll remember that.

I resumed my prayers of praise and thanksgiving. Then, more words came to me and I was a little frightened. I knew I wouldn’t remember the words without writing them down. Not now, I thought, and I continued my praise. I love you, Jesus ...

I kept receiving the words, and they were strong. I knew this was real and that I had better start taking some notes. I wondered what it would look like if I sat down in the middle of Eucharistic Adoration, and started digging in my purse for a pen and scrap of paper. It seemed extremely irreverent but if I was the only one there, who would know or care? I looked around and saw a woman sitting nearby, and as if Jesus knew I needed a little nudge, she was writing!

I jotted down the words I received. “To receive forgiveness from God and to be so filled with the love of our Lord and brother, Jesus.”

I remember thinking, that is so cool. Forgiveness and love. Jesus as our Lord and brother. At that moment I felt Jesus reaching out to me. I had always believed in Jesus, but felt more connected to God the Father and the Holy Spirit, than to Jesus, until this most recent journey of mine.

I felt loved.

I got back on my knees and back into my prayers of praise, and I thanked Jesus for loving me so much and for letting me love Him.

As I studied Acts 9 before putting this prayer card together, I was reminded of the message of forgiveness I had so strongly received that morning. It really resonated with me, as I am one who forgives others easily, even when they are not sorry. I once thought it was a fault of mine but decided it was a good trait to have. God forgives everyone, regardless. My ability to forgive is a gift. Eventually, I took a lesson from that when I had trouble coming to terms with some choices I had made in my life. I realized I wasn’t able to forgive myself so easily and decided that if God can forgive me, who am I to say I am not forgivable.

Receiving forgiveness from God, coupled with The Lord’s Prayer, that’s what this prayer card was to be about. I didn’t question it. This was Truth generating from Jesus touching my heart. Fr. had put it simply in his reply to me, “For prayer to be true prayer, it has to be personal. It has to originate in the heart.” Still, I wondered as I studied Acts 9 again and again. Did Saul repent? Did he ask for forgiveness? Was he just caught off guard, swept into a plan that was totally out of his control?

“Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine, to bear My name” Acts 9:15

I put my trust in Him and let Him lead me through this project. With Jesus’ help at another Eucharistic Adoration, a revision was made, “…that the leaders of evil, repent and accept Your son’s merciful love.” Additionally, I was to include the words of The Lord’s Prayer, and not to assume everyone knows it as well as I do. I hope it helps God’s plan for peace.

On a personal note, like the angel in my little Catholic bookstore, I would be thrilled if this testament helped to bring at least one other individual to the bright light of Jesus’ love, like her special request has for me.

Saul falls from his horse on the road to Damascus Acts 9