Let us pray—with friends, family, and a few refreshments at a prayer gathering

Other people collect scarves or go rock climbing or take up bird watching.

My current passion? Hosting prayer gatherings.

So far they have all been for expectant mothers and their babies. I invite a few friends over to say the rosary.

We nibble on something, pray together, laugh and share stories, and everyone goes happily off, carrying a prayer card to keep nearby while waiting for the baby to be born.

There’s nothing extraordinary about it, really. In fact it’s quite ordinary. These gatherings are the most natural, easygoing events I’ve hosted. People immediately connect through prayer and conversation.

I think what astonishes me most is that I never thought to do this before.

Holy cards by my sister Treasa. Eggs filled with rosaries by my father. Paper monstrance made by our first grader.

I mean, of course I have been praying for expectant mothers and their babies. I pray for parents who are adopting. I pray for people who long to be parents. I pray for children who wait for parents. I pray for people who give birth but then aren’t able to parent. We do a lot of praying for families here.

So then why did it take me so long to realize that you could invite people over not for a shower of gifts—though that is perfectly lovely—but to surround someone in prayer?

I don’t have any idea.

But here we are.

During Lent I hosted two prayer gatherings, one for a friend whose baby boy arrived last week—hurrah! The other was for a baby girl we expect to meet later this summer. Technically, that gathering was hosted by my sister Treasa, who merely used my house for the event. I still haven’t learned how to say no to my baby sister.

Really, how can you say no to someone who creates a spiritual bouquet in the shape of a wreath where each prayer for the guest of honor is represented by a piece of fabric?

That’s a rhetorical question, of course.

I’d like to tell you that the painting in the background is “The Sun Danced at Fatima,” but I believe it’s an Angry Birds painting.

And here’s the thing. Now I want to have these gatherings all the time. I’m thinking we should have one before the start of the school year and invite some of our sons’ friends and their families to come and pray for a great school year.

We have friends who are selling homes, waiting to adopt, and facing a variety of challenges and transitions. Other friends are marking key wedding anniversaries.

What would be more natural than gathering to pray?

It makes me stop to think. And it makes me wonder what intentions you might have in your heart right now. How can I pray for you today?

You might also enjoy reading:

Celebrating life: How to plan a prayer gathering for a mother-to-be

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.