News Flash: The World Needs Your Prayers
There is a great deal of division and animosity these days. Americans are pitted against each other politically. Civility and courtesy are more and more minuscule. There are 20 plus ongoing wars throughout the world and violent action being taken against minority groups in many countries. The Church has several polar splits and other major faith communions are fracturing. We’ve had Uvalde and an explosive use of fentanyl and other drugs.
Is the world in trouble? Yes, definitely, but arguably no more so now than before. History confirms that discord has been a feature of human existence from the beginning (remember the story of Cain and Able?). In fact, Sodom, Gomorrah and all the surrounding ancient kingdoms had vicious histories, which is why we are told about them in the first book of the Bible.
Not exactly savory Sunday morning reading, or is it?
Some may see reasons for despair. Others, like me, see a call to prayer. And the readings today point us to some specific things about prayer that every Catholic should know. Abraham, knowing full well the evil and the resulting destructiveness of evil in that city but also confident in the mercy of God, intercedes persistently on behalf of Sodom. The operative word is persistence. Prayer, of petition and also thanksgiving, needs to be persistentbut not rote.
The first verse of Luke chapter 11 says that Jesus ‘was praying in a certain place’. The word translated as ‘praying’ here actually means that Jesus was earnestly asking (or begging) the Father for something. We know that Jesus was in selected place and that He was by himself.
Jesus wasn’t reciting prayers. That type of prayer is important, and Jesus did that at times. But here Jesus was talking with God the Father. If we think of the interaction between Abraham and God in the first reading, we have the clear sense that Jesus was discussing a petition or request with God. And to do this Jesus, as Abraham had done, withdrew to a particular place to be alone with God.
Yet when one of the disciples asks Jesus to teach them to pray, He offers them the prayer we call the ‘Our Father’. This is a recited, corporate prayer, meaning a prayer offered collectively.
So, we have prayer presented as persistent, in a particular place, as directed conversation and collectively.
The Church has said that the laity have a crucial, specific role in spreading the Gospel. This charge is not only for the clergy, it is also for the laity. The world needs your prayers. So, persistently, daily take time to ask God to intervene in our world as Abraham did. Go to Mass. Then rest in the goodness of our Creator and Defender.
Deacon Greg Osgood