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Lent is a perfect time to pray more intensely. It is a seen as a time for greater discipline that may also bear fruit in other times of the year. Yesterday’s reading of Scripture for Mass had us focus on penance. Today, the Church gives us good example of asking God for the things we need. Queen Esther is our liturgical protagonist (aside from God, that is) in interceding for others.

What is prayer of intercession? Well, prayer of intercession is known along side other types of prayer like blessing and adoration, petition, intercession, thanksgiving and praise.

The Catechism teaches us that Jesus practiced intercessory prayer in praying to His Father for all of us. We believe this is what the Holy Spirit does for us and for the whole world. This type of prayer is practiced by priests especially when they offer the Sacrifice of the Mass and pray the Divine Office. The laity exercise the priesthood of the believers by virtue of the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation by offering a prayer for another. The saints do intercessory prayer in approaching the Throne of Grace when we ask them to. 

In paragraphs 2635-6 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church we read:

Since Abraham, intercession – asking on behalf of another has been characteristic of a heart attuned to God’s mercy. In the age of the Church, Christian intercession participates in Christ’s, as an expression of the communion of saints. In intercession, he who prays looks “not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others,” even to the point of praying for those who do him harm.

The first Christian communities lived this form of fellowship intensely. Thus the Apostle Paul gives them a share in his ministry of preaching the Gospel but also intercedes for them. The intercession of Christians recognizes no boundaries: “for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions,” for persecutors, for the salvation of those who reject the Gospel.

At the beginning of each month I post on this blog the Pope’s prayer intentions so that our hearts would be expanded for another, and that we develop a greater capacity to grow in mercy. Queen Esther is a great Old Testament example of going to God in supplication for others because she cared for others as Other. Her way of praying as we saw in Scripture prefigures the manner in which Our Savior prayed for us. Can we follow her good example?