Monday February 20, 2017

The Power of Prayer

By Abby Dawes and Tori Schoen

This is for the Democrat, the Republican, and the Liberal. For those who voted in favor of our new president, for those who voted for a different candidate. For those who participated in marches and for those who have been bombarded by the piles of news being released. For all who are overwhelmed by the change that has taken place in the past couple weeks and are seeking some kind of hope amidst the darkness and violence that seems to fill our Facebook pages, classroom discussions and news screens.  I am like you. I am a 19 year old who is in over her head regarding the political decisions and controversies that seem to be hitting the pavement in the blink of an eye. And all I wish to offer is a piece of my prayer life that has come up over the past couple of days.

I do not wish to paint a pretty picture or pretend like millions of people’s lives are not at stake while new policies are being put into place. But I do wish that for a moment we step back and think about what we are doing about it and why. Undoubtedly, this is a time when people are stepping up.  I am amazed by the courage so many have when it comes to standing up for their beliefs and standing for others through protests and rallies, but I do wonder if we are neglecting another activity. An activity that consists of real talking, not yelling, not biased opinions but revealing honesty, and not the slandering of another but pure upliftment. This important activity is prayer -- the conversation we take for granted far too often, and the activity that can spiritually and physically changes us into better versions of ourselves, into carriers of the Holy Spirit and lights in the darkness.

Maybe it is the optimist in me, or maybe it is the grace of faith, but I truly believe that prayer and greater dependence on God will once again carry us through the times of our life. God gave us the gift of prayer, the gift of communicating with our creator, for times like this. And I can’t help but think that we as a Church are neglecting the Divine power that is waiting to radiate from such an act.  Our intercessory prayers at mass are a beautiful way for our community to pray for our nation and our leaders, but are we as individuals asking God what our mission is at this point in time? Maybe it will be standing in a march or at a rally, but we must also be open to other ways in which God is calling us to work at this time. Perhaps by being speakers of hope and Truth, by proclaiming our Lord’s name, instead of speaking ill of another, or by inviting those who live in fear to pray and seek  comfort from a God who is more powerful than any being on this earth. The Lord is calling each one of us to respond to the signs of our times differently, but He needs us to surrender to Him in prayer and in spirit so that His will and His glory may reign.

Pope Francis recently spoke about the beatitudes and his reflection regarding those who are poor in spirit can resonate with many of us at this time. “He who is poor in spirit”, Francis says “ does not rebel, but knows how to be humble, obedient, and available to the grace of God” ("humility and trust in God are essential Christian virtues"). And that is what prayer can do for us.  It can call us to greater humility as we depend not on our own actions, but on the will of God. Prayer can open us up to our individual missions of speaking hope, truth and light.

So let us pray. Let us pray a lot. Let us become the instruments in which God uses, not always for protesting or fighting, but for peace. We do not need to fall into vices of anger and resentment, but instead can grow in virtues of prayer, hope and faith. We are in the hands of our God and it takes a moment of surrender on our part to fully realize that we are small parts in a kingdom much larger than ourselves.

As we look to prayer and surrender the state of our lives and our world to God, let us also not forget that we are called to take action. For God calls out to us saying:

“What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” (James 2:14-17).


Our first call is to take these matters, these hardships, to prayer -- trusting in the power of our God that is greater than anything that we can do, laying it all down at the foot of the cross. But, our call does not end there. We need to be open to our prayer leading us to other calls to action in our communities. Through our prayer, we can be assured that God will guide us through the things that He calls us to work for. Remember Pope Benedict XVI’s words, “The world offers you comfort. But you were not made for comfort. You were made for greatness.”

Edited by Barbara Miller and Ben Swick

Source:

"humility and trust in God are essential Christian virtues." Vatican Radio, Official Vatican Network, 29 Jan. 2017.

 

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