“I pray for them,” Jesus says in Tuesday’s gospel as he looks to his disciples in the supper room and also to us who are his own today.
We who are so conscious of how poorly we pray need to remember Jesus praying for us and in us. Is it possible to speak to God, we ask ourselves? We’re so easily distracted, so weak in faith, so bound to life as it is. How can we to go to God in prayer?
“Let the Son who lives in our hearts, be also on our lips,” St. Cyprian says in his commentary on the Our Father. Jesus joins our weak and stumbling prayers to his own. He prays in and for us and gives us the assurance we will be welcomed and heard.
“I pray for them,” Jesus said in the supper room. Then, he prayed for his disciples when they left the supper room and entered the Garden of Gethsemani. They fell asleep, forgetful of everything. A stone’s throw away, Jesus prayed and his prayer was not only for himself but to strengthen them as well.
“I pray for them,’ Jesus says in our liturgical prayers. We speak to God the Father “through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.”
Whenever we pray, whether with others in public prayer or praying alone, he enters our prayer. “Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Savior gave us,” we say as we begin the Our Father at Mass.
Our confidence in prayer comes, not from our own wisdom, or holiness or faith, but from Jesus who says “I pray for them.”