The “brothers’ prayer”, a growing practice

We can discern three figures standing in the hollow of a side chapel. Paule and Jean-Michel pray in a soft voice, their hand resting on the back of a young man who has come to confide in a difficulty. In the nave, the Blessed Sacrament is adored. The melody of the instruments covers the murmur of the trio. “When one speaks, the other invokes the Father in the name of Jesus and the Holy Spirit”, comments Paule, who for eight years has been a “pair of prayers” with her husband Jean-Michel during vigils of the parish of Saint-Ruf in Avignon (Vaucluse) where the prayer of the brothers is practiced.

What is it about ?

“The prayer of the brothers is a fraternal service, very simple, which bears many fruits”, explains Étienne Grenet, priest, designer of training in this area in the diocese of Paris. It is a question of welcoming and carrying, together, the prayer that someone else addresses to the Lord. Concretely, small groups of two or three people are available. The person who comes to them entrusts them with an intention which can be either the desire to encounter Christ or a concrete difficulty. While one listens, exchanges a few words with her, the other prays to the Holy Spirit.

Where does this come from?

The process of praying for a brother goes back to the very origins of the Church. The first Christians clearly recognized in it one of the modalities of the commandment left by Jesus to his disciples: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 13, 34) and the concretization of this recommendation: “If two of you on earth join their voices in asking for anything, it will be granted to them by my Father who is in heaven”(Matthew 18:19).

“When men unite to invoke the Father in Heaven, he pours countless graces into the hearts of those who have humbly accepted to be prayed for”, adds Baudouin Ardillier, priest, witness of multiple conversions and healings in his Provençal parish and author of the guide the prayer of the brothers (Editions of the Beatitudes).

What to ask of God?

“The Lord asks men to ask, said Etienne Grenet, smiling. God comes to seek on our lips a precise formulation, because it is our dignity to be able to dialogue with him”, insists the priest, who exercises himself to express “frequently simple requests without filters”.

It is a question of entering into the flesh of our existence. What do we really have on our hearts and in our guts? To find out, the Parisian priest offers an exercise. In silence, for a few moments, in the presence of God, let us read this word from the psalm: “I asked the Lord for one thing, the only thing I seek. » Let’s whisper it quietly 10 or 20 times to the rhythm of our breathing. When something specific enough comes to mind, we can go and present this intention to Jesus.

What do the prayers say?

“Come, Holy Spirit! Come put in my mouth words that come from you! », « Lord, should I speak now or be silent? », beg the prayers. The dip in the intercession of the one who is there lasts at most five minutes. Prayers are servants. “They beg alongside whoever comes forward until they touch the heart of God”, explains Baudouin Ardillier. God’s response can then manifest in the form of“a secret motion given to the soul of the praying person”. “He feels inside that the Lord is there and that he has heard the prayer. »

Occasionally, “Clear words are given to me, testifies Véronique, mother and parishioner of Saint-Ruf. Often I don’t understand, I just describe an image that comes to me. At a detail, the person understands that it is for him. »

How are they preparing?

This parishioner insists on the preparation of the heart and on the spiritual accompaniment necessary to exercise this charism. Baudouin Ardillier, he willingly fasts beforehand. Paule and Jean-Michel always arrive early on D-Day to praise with the other prayers and get in tune with the Holy Spirit. As for Véronique, the intentions entrusted to them continued to inhabit their personal prayer in the following days.

Why propose it in the parish?

“Proposing the prayer of the brothers in a parish community has a lot of meaning and fruitfulness, adds Etienne Grenet. It is a means of intensifying fraternal life and of deeply enlivening the personal relationship with Jesus. » Long confined to charismatic prayer groups, this prayer is now developing in parishes. In Sainte-Blandine, in Lyon, for example, it is offered after communion, during certain Sunday masses.

Pray, the monthly of the spiritual life, is renewed
This article appeared in the issue of the monthly Pray of septemberoh 444, which inaugurates a renewed formula. In addition to reports, interviews and columnists (Anselm Grün, Martin Steffens, Patrice Gourrier, Emmanuelle Hénin, Michèle Debidour…), you will find a naturopath each month, who will help you cultivate a healthy life and diet at the school of Saint Hildegard of Bingen, and a crossword puzzle. The layout of the booklet Pray daily which offers the Gospel of the day commented by spiritual authors has been completely renewed to improve its readability. Pray is the only magazine that covers all aspects of the spiritual life.
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The “brothers’ prayer”, a growing practice