Praying for Others

One of the books I read with my book club a while back is Loving Kindness. In it author, Sharon Salzberg, offers a beautiful practice for praying for others. She suggests that we pray first for those who are close to us, then those we barely know but we encounter in our lives. Then she suggests prayer for those people who have harmed us in some way. I have had this suggestion made to me by friends as a way to get over resentments. “Pray for them,” they told me. Are you kidding? I thought, why would I want God to pour grace upon this person?

Jamez Baraz in Awakening Joy makes the same recommendation, but he also realizes that we may not have it in us to pray for someone right now. This is what he says: “If you’re not ready to forgive someone, then forgive yourself for being just where you are, particularly if you judge yourself for feeling the way you do. We can’t hurry up the process. Sometimes hurts take a while to heal. But know that you’re the one who benefits most from forgiving another, so be open to the possibility of forgiving sometime in the future.”