The Power of Adding Just One Word to Your Prayers

It doesn’t take much to extend your prayers’ reach to people and places around the world.

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Posted in , Jul 26, 2021

Add one word to prayer

A friend of mine is a retired schoolteacher. She once told me that one of her grade school students would come to school every day with glasses so dirty she wondered how he could see anything. So, one day, she asked for his glasses and cleaned them. When he put them back on, his eyes widened, and he exclaimed, “Wow!” 

Something similar happened to me when I discovered if I added just one word to my prayers, it clarified my vision and expanded the reach of my prayers to places and people around the world. 

It’s a short word, only three letters: “And.” 

Let me show you how it works, at least for me. Among my daily prayers are petitions for two of my grandchildren, ages 9 and 11, who cope with the effects of cystic fibrosis. I pray fervently for their healing, soon and completely, from CF. Some time ago, however, I added that short word, “and.” So now I pray every day for their healing “and for all those who suffer from cystic fibrosis.” 

Since I began praying that way, that powerful little word has infiltrated all of my prayers. I pray for a friend who recently lost a loved one and for everyone whose heart is weighed down by grief. 

I pray for my children and grandchildren, who live some distance from me, and also for all those who are separated from and missing their loved ones. 

I sit down to eat and give thanks for my food and ask God to provide for those who don’t have such daily nourishment as I enjoy. 

I pray before I write, asking God to inspire and energize my words, and for Him to work through all of those who serve Him through the written word.

I know I’m far from the first person to discover the power of that one word in prayer. I’ve heard it often in liturgies and pastoral prayers, but for some reason—maybe my inattentiveness or density in such moments—I only recently began applying it in my personal prayers. 

There’s virtually no petition it doesn’t apply to: 

“Lord, please heal Jeff and give him a clean scan—and heal all who cry out to you for healing.” 

“Father, please help Gene find the job that will meet his family’s needs—and do the same for all who are sincerely searching for work.” 

“God, please comfort Peggy in her loneliness and help all those who are lonely tonight.” 

It’s a blessing to know that, as I pray for my needs and the needs of my family, friends and neighbors, that my prayers extend and expand to reach many others simply by using that one short word: “and.” 

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