5 Amazing Facts about Prayer
What they mean for your (eternal) life
You know the feeling. You pray and pray and nothing seems to happen. The bad in your life may even get worse, or the one thing you really want from God doesn’t come through.
What do you do? Double up on your prayers? Give up? Find another God? These are serious questions that get to the heart of the matter. When you pray, what do you expect? We all want miracles, but would you settle for amazing?
Here are 5 amazing facts about prayer:
1. Prayers are Always Answered
Sometimes God says no, but more often he answers our prayers in ways we don’t expect or fully understand. Prayer is not like a candy dispenser where you insert a petition and out pops a favor. It is a conversation with God, a relationship of great intimacy with the one who created us. We often go to God asking for one thing, whereas he wants to give us so much more; ultimately, to give himself. So when we pray to God in good faith we always receive the answer of his love and an invitation to a deeper relationship. And sometimes we do get that favor.
2. Prayer is Powerful
Using a graphic image, Jesus said that with faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move a mountain. What does that power mean for our lives? Harder to move than a mountain at times is the human heart caught in negative cycles such as anger, envy, greed and lust. Prayer softens the heart and raises our thoughts to God, who is ready to offer forgiveness and healing.
3. The Rosary is a ‘Weapon’
Those who consider the rosary as long and boring don’t know its deeper essence. St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio) called the rosary a “weapon” for our times against the devil. Why? The rosary is dedicated to the Blessed Mother, the Queen of Heaven, who brought God’s plan for salvation to fruition by accepting Jesus into her womb. Her obedience undid the disobedience of our first parents, who fell to the devil’s temptations. St. Louis de Montfort taught that when we say “Mary,” she says “Jesus.” When we pray the rosary, the devil flees at the constant repetition of these two holy names.
4. Prayer is Dying to Self
It is fine to ask God for some good or favor. But we must ask ourselves if we are ready to receive what God truly seeks to give us. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus asked his Father to take away the cup of suffering. But by adding, “Not my will but thy will be done,” Jesus died first to his self before giving his life for us on the cross. This message is not easy to accept, yet handing over our will to God is an essential step of authentic prayer.
5. Prayer Makes Us More Like God
By uniting our thoughts and will to God through prayer, we become closer to him in spirit. We will show forth more clearly the image of God within us, and see more clearly the image of God in others. While our Catholic faith rejects the notion that we will actually become God in our nature, or be subsumed into God, we do know that we will become united with him in heaven. In a somewhat mysterious statement, St. John explains, “Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we shall be has not yet been revealed. We do know that when it is revealed we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn 3:2).
As Knights, we have many heavenly intercessors, including six saints who were martyrs in Mexico and members of our Order, and our founder, Venerable Father Michael McGivney, whose cause for sainthood is open at the Vatican. Pray to them in times of need.