The Jessie Prayer
I met Jessie White in 2004. At that time
his beautiful and beloved wife Lillian was still able to come to church
with him. He never missed the opportunity to stop by my office and say
hello and would often stay and chat for a few moments. We connected in
those brief visits and gained a mutual respect for each other that I
will always cherish.
As time went by Lillian was unable to attend Daily Mass with him but when he could, he would still come and always stop by my office on his way out to say hello, give me an update on the woman he loved so much, or share a thought or two.
At other times he would drop by with a cigar box full of Quarters he had collected to donate to the Knights of Columbus. He would never hand them to me but would place them on the floor or file cabinet because “they were heavy” and he didn’t want me to have to try and lift or carry them. Always telling me to leave them where he placed them and a Knight would come by and pick them up. A true gentleman with his thoughts turned toward others at all times.
As the years went by Lillian’s health was declining and Jessie could not make it to daily Mass. He felt he was the best caregiver for his beautiful wife and would not entrust that job to anyone else. He was extremely dedicated to her and her care. This act of pure love and devotion made me love him more and increased the feeling of respect I already had for him.
To say the least I was a huge fan of his and his little bits of wisdom he would impart during our short visits. Visits that were sometimes in my office, in the hall, or even out in the parking lot. We talked about the love of God, the nature of human relationships, and prayer, among other things.
It was during one of our “walking to the parking lot” visits that we were discussing prayer, and how to pray, that Jessie revealed the following about his own prayer life: He stopped walking and said “When I pray I ask God to bless all of my family, friends and loved ones, my enemies, if I should have any, and everyone in between.” Then he looked up at me and said, “Now did I leave anyone out?” I was blown away by the simplicity of his all-encompassing prayer and his sincerity of wanting to be sure he prayed for everyone.
Jessie and Lillian are both in heaven now, but still very close to my heart. I have said the “Jessie Prayer”, as I call it, countless times over the years since he shared it with me. I know he would want me to share it with others.
“For prayer is nothing else than being on terms of friendship with God.”
(Saint Teresa of Avila)
"Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours. When you stand to pray, forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance, so that your heavenly Father may in turn forgive you your transgressions.” Mark 11: 24-25