In Catholicism, some prayers are more popular than others.
One prayer that can easily be counted among the most popular, is the prayer to St Jude. A common version goes like this:
O Holy St Jude!
Apostle and Martyr,
great in virtue and rich in miracles,
near kinsman of Jesus Christ,
faithful intercessor for all who invoke you,
special patron in time of need;
to you I have recourse from the depth of my heart,
and humbly beg you,
to whom God has given such great power,
to come to my assistance;
help me now in my urgent need and grant my earnest petition.
I will never forget thy graces and favors you obtain for me
and I will do my utmost to spread devotion to you.
The St Jude prayer is one of many Catholic intercessory prayers. An intercessory prayer is a prayer that asks for Got to intercede in one's life to make changes.
A lot of prayer can be viewed as "intercessory". Though a lot of prayer is certainly not:
- Prayers for Thanks
- Mealtime Prayers
- Prayers for the Dead
So, why is the St Jude Prayer so popular within Catholicism? My guess is that the St Jude Prayer is often viewed as a last ditch effort. It is the "prayer for lost causes", and within Catholicism most view themselves as lost causes. After all, we are all born into an inherently flawed world; into sin and shame.
I like the St Jude prayer specifically because it is so popular. The prayer is a binding force for many Catholics.
When I say the prayer to St Jude, I can be sure that another person is praying nearly the same prayer at the same time as me. That is nice to think about. In fact, it is probably being said by different people in different languages, including the original Latin.
I may be a lost cause, but with this prayer I am bound with all other lost causes and failures.
So, try it out. Tonight, before you pull back the sheets to go to bed, say the St Jude Prayer, and regardless of your views on intercession, feel connected through the power of prayer.