Palanca – A Form of Prayer, Encouragement and Support

Yesterday one of my colleagues who I got to meet in person very recently, sent me an email, ‘Good evening Wendy and my blessings for this New Year. With your upcoming surgery on 14 January I will Palanca for you all day.’ Marg is a woman of devotion  and this a gift of love, connection and care. However, I had never heard of the act of Palanca.

The Christian organisation, CumChristo, write, ‘A palanca letter is written to lift up, support, and encourage a friend or family member. Usually given while on a religious retreat or mission, palanca letters can also be sent to someone in prison. Whoever the recipient, they are incredibly emotional and uplifting for both the recipient and writer. Palanca letters are not terribly lengthy and are always spiritually uplifting. Palanca is not the note, but the sacrifice and prayer itself. The note is just the messenger — though it should be encouraging. Writing an encouraging note without sacrifice and/or prayer is not palanca, but just an encouraging note.”

Launch Knowledge also explain what Palanca letters are and offer examples that express support in the form of guidance, prayer and/or honest communication.

From what I understand, a Palanca letter is an expression of spirituality or religious in nature.

Why write a Palanca letter?

  • To express gratitude for the gifts of service, prayer, concern, and care shown by the recipient
  • To express what thy did or said that brought love and joy to you, his/her family, friends, and others
  • To offer insights, words of wisdom, encouragement and guidance
  • To reassure them of a power greater than themselves, a divine presence, that the earth loves them – or to express this in terms that are meaningful for the recipient

Launch writes, “Many recipients hold onto their Palanca letters forever, referring back to them in times of discouragement or anxiety. Even though you are writing to a person today supporting your recipient’s current journey, your words may be as important or even more so at future points in their life. While writing the letter, you should keep in mind how impactful and helpful your words can be to someone at a low point in their life.”

How to write a palanca

  • Start with a warm salutation. I.e Dearest friend, sister in the heart, Christian brother.
  • Write what they may have done or said and how that touched you. What observable behaviour has inspired you or moved by its nature of kindness.
  • Offer words of wisdom.
  • Most Palanca letters are sent anonymously.
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