Recently, I’ve discovered a new way to pray for others.

Its vehicle is gratitude.

It goes something like this: Lord, thank you for this food. Bless someone who doesn’t have food with a meal today.

It is an endless petition. As long as I am grateful, it continues, like a cross country road trip on Route 66. It becomes a via, a Way, like the pilgrimage from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, over the Pyrenees to Compostelle.

I was in St. Jean when Martin Sheen was filming the movie named The Way. It is about a father’s personal pilgrimage to trek the Camino de Santiago and collect the remains of his deceased son. His was a climb through grief and the extreme loss of a parent whose child has died. I can’t imagine the anguish of his own petitions, his anger, his pain.

I can’t imagine so much about the suffering in the world today.

But I can imagine one person. One person whose stomach is empty, chewing leaves to stave off the pangs.

I can imagine one person whose mental health has gone haywire, who needs medicine.

I can imagine a homeless man who must walk everywhere he goes.

I can imagine a woman in Mexico who has no running water.

I can imagine a senior citizen who has who has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

I can imagine a girl in Afghanistan who has been denied education.

I can imagine a middle-aged man who is unemployed.

I can imagine a young soldier who has lost a limb in Iraq.

I can imagine a widow who is lonely or an adult child who has lost their aging parents.

I can imagine the grief of a parent who has lost a child.

And so..while I am thanking God for food, for medicine, for my car; while I am grateful for a hot shower, the ability to think and process, the class I am taking; while I sing praises for my job and legs that can carry me around the track; while I offer thanksgiving for family and friends, for my 84 year-old parents who are still alive; while I praise God for my sons and daughter-in-law, I can intercede for others, one person, one need, one inverted gratitude at a time—along my own new Pilgrim’s Way.