Two practices that facilitate openness and receptivity to hope in ourselves and others are words of encouragement and the prayer of intercession. A supportive email, a kind word, a handwritten note, a bouquet of flowers, a pat on the back, a post on Facebook, all are practical reminders that one is not alone, that one can count on the support of family and friends. Words and actions of friendship, consolation, and encouragement offer an oasis and sense of community to those who isolate themselves as they bear the weight of disheartenment, desperation, and distress. Knowing that one is being prayed for can open a person’s soul to be receptive to hope. More than strong-arming God to get what we want or doing a rain dance long enough to obtain the desired results, the prayer of intercession, like spiritual direction and words of encouragement, is a reminder that the gratuity of grace is never exhausted and never expires. This simple knowledge leaves behind a furrow in the field of the desperate and despairing.
—from the book Soul Training with the Peace Prayer of Saint Francis
by Albert Haase, OFM