Power of Prayer
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” [Matthew 7:7-8 NABRE]
Jesus did it often! He did it for forty days prior to commencing His ministry. He did it after John the Baptist was beheaded. He did it before He walked on water. He did it after instituting the sacrament of the Eucharist and prior to being taken by the guards of the High Priest. In fact, it seems that he did it every day. He sought solitude to pray to his Heavenly Father. “… he departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God.” [Luke 6:12]
If Jesus thought it worthwhile to take time out from his busy day to pray to his heavenly Father, shouldn’t we do the same?
What then is Prayer? In the Catechism of the Catholic Church prayer is defined as the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God (2559).
St. Therese of Lisieux referred to prayer as “… a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy”. Gandhi said: “Prayer is … a longing of the soul. It is daily admission of one’s weakness. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words than words without a heart.”
The purpose of prayer is to help us to grow closer to God. The knowledge and understanding that you can talk with God at any time of the day or night should fill you with inspiration, hope and joy.
As I look back over my life, as a child I did talk to God but somewhere along the way lost that quality. It took a long time – the greater part of my life – to be led back to that beautiful relationship with God.
I identify with many of the blocks to self-disclosure to God, even to the point of experiencing a time in my life when I avoided prayer and church. Gradually I returned to occasional prayer on specific occasions, such as a prayer to Our Lady of the Way prior to travel. It took longer though to return to church. I might have given up on God for a time but thankfully God did not give up on me!
My prayer life has now, for a long time, been in the form of a conversation with God, or in the words of St. Teresa, “a close sharing between friends.” This is not restricted to the times I set aside for prayer, such as my early morning Quiet Time with God, bedtime, or celebrations of the Eucharist and other such occasions. I simply chat with God throughout the day and I find that it comes easily and naturally.
I see God as Love; God-for-me, a magnanimous, all-embracing Father who knows my every need and provides for it; who knows all there is to know about me, even more than I know about myself, and whose plan and purpose for my life was in place long before I was born.
I see Jesus as my greatest mate, who called me to follow him and who leads me walking beside me, his loving arm around my shoulder, guiding me gently but surely along the path he has prepared for me, to the prize he has promised. God-with-me.
I see the Holy Spirit as the fire within my heart and my soul, the blazing inferno that fills me with love for God and for others and the warmth and glow of that fire radiates from me to others. The Holy Spirit enlightens and inspires me and lights the path ahead on which Jesus leads me. God-within-me.
I see all three as the Blessed Trinity, God-for-me, with-me, within-me, making a home within me and making me feel at home in their loving presence.
In France in 1844, Fr. Francis X. Gautrelet told a group of Jesuit seminarians who were eager to work on the missions: “Be apostles now, apostles of prayer! Offer everything you are doing each day in union with the Heart of our Lord for what He wishes, the spread of the Kingdom for the salvation of souls.”
There is power in prayer and God answers prayers. “Ask and it will be given to you…” What a wonderful promise.
Have a golden day and treasure life!