This Is Why You Should Pray For Your Priest

by May, Prayer, Vocation

For many people, the priest is the one whom people go to for their spiritual needs, for prayer requests, for Mass offerings, and other sacraments. Have you ever wondered how a priest is sustained spiritually for the work they do? Should we be praying for a priest as we pray for other people, like our friends, family members or fellow church members?

Should We Pray For Priests?

The answer is an unequivocal yes! Here is how the book of Hebrews describes the ministry of priest. “Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people. No one takes this honor upon himself but only when called by God, just as Aaron was.” Hebrews 5:1-4

The first take away from the above quote is that priests are taken from among men. This means that he has needs like every created person who is dependent on God for Grace. Because of the Fall of our first parents, we all need baptism, and then God’s both sanctifying and actual graces from God to live a good Christian Life. I was one of eight kids and the youngest of the boys. When I was a child I don’t think anyone in my family, except perhaps my mom, saw the priesthood in me. I did the normal things like every child, struggled through prayers sometimes, rushed through my rosaries to get through quicker, but I always had a genuine love for God and the church. It is upon this ordinary kid, that the grace of God called to priesthood. However, Grace does not change nature; rather, it perfects it. The grace of God works in our uniqueness and gifts, perfecting what is lacking in us to make us the best version of ourselves, people acceptable to God. Hence, even priests rely on graces from above to fulfill their mission as Christians and as disciples of Jesus.

Secondly, in Hebrews verse 2-3, it says “He is able to deal patiently with the ignorant and erring, for he himself is beset by weakness, and so, for this reason, must make sin offerings for himself as well as for the people”. This passage tells us that the priest, although by ordination acts in the person of Christ, is still by nature beset by weakness and sin like all men. Thus, like everybody, priests rely on prayer, grace, and God’s mercy.

Praying For Your Priest Is A Gift

Praying for the priest is one of the most generous gifts one can offer the priest. As the one charged with leading God’s people at Mass and with the sacraments, priests constantly rely on God’s grace to carry out their duties. Prayers help the priest stay strong in times of temptation and stay holy for the work he is entrusted with. Many times in my 24 years as a priest, I have relied on people praying for me for strength and comfort in times of loss in my family. When I lost my immediate younger sibling in the fall of 2016, I was in great agony and had a lot of questions for God. However, receiving a lot of notes from parishioners with assurances of prayers for my family and me brought great solace and hope to me and helped me bear the loss.

Praying for your priests is also a way of staying spiritually connected to him and a charitable act. Often, people invite the priests to bless their houses, for wedding receptions, baptism receptions, to anoint the sick, etc. These are some of the many ways we connect with the priest spiritually and sacramentally. In all these instances, we are seeking the ministry of the priest. When we pray for the priest, we are making a spiritual offering to God on behalf of the priest.

Finally, Hebrews 5:4 says, “No one takes this honor upon himself…”. Priests need prayers to stay grounded and humble even as they carry out their priestly office of governing. No one earned their right to the priesthood, but one is called to become a priest because of God’s mercy and love. Staying obedient to the teaching of the Magisterium, fidelity to his priestly promises and vows, and upholding the laws of God and the church are all reasons why priests need prayers. As the Venerable Apostle St. Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 4:7 “But we hold this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing power may be of God and not from us”. The fragility of the priest (earthen vessels) who hold the ‘treasures’ (Sacraments), means that he needs a lot of prayers to keep the treasure contained in the earthen vessels. 

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A Prayer For Your Priest

Gracious and loving God, we thank you for the gift of our priests.
Through them, we experience your presence in the sacraments.

Help our priests to be strong in their vocation.
Set their souls on fire with love for your people.

Grant them the wisdom, understanding, and strength they need to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
Inspire them with the vision of your Kingdom.

Give them the words they need to spread the Gospel.
Allow them to experience joy in their ministry.

Help them to become instruments of your divine grace.

We ask this through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns as our Eternal Priest.

Amen.

USCCB

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