The Power of Prayer
Nov. 27, 1994
Brother John Raymond
Edel Quinn was an young Irish Woman who went to central Africa
many years ago. She went to establish groups of the Legion of Mary.
She was hard working and very holy. Her cause for beatification has
been introduced. I wish to share with you something she wrote. "More
than anything else I believe in the power of prayer." I agree with
Often we think of prayer as valuable, or enjoyable or even
beneficial. It is all that but it's more. It's effective. It is
Somewhere in his writings St. Thomas Aquinas explains that
certain graces are given if we pray. God wills to give certain
graces in reponse to prayer, our own or that of someone else's. A
holy Dominican, Mother Mary of St. Peter, said that God has arranged
things this way, that prayer is often a condition for receiving
graces. Prayer is real. It is causal. C.S. Lewis stated that the
reason God arranged things this way is a great honor to us. "To give
us the dignity of being causes." Our prayers really count, They have
Our prayers do help. We can save souls from going to Hell, help
the dying, aid the sick, fed the hungry and starving, console the
elderly and dry the tears of a child - all by praying. We can do
this without knowing the person for whom we are praying. We can do
this without leaving our room. Or even our bed! We can help people
all around the world. We can, indeed, help every one in the world!
We can pray for people we'll only meet in Heaven and joyfully look
forward to their thanks. And, of couse, people are praying for us.
Just think of all the people who have prayed, are praying and will
pray for you. All the Carmelite nuns, all the elderly Italian
Franciscans, the priests, the Baptist ministers, the Quaker
children, the Anglican Bishops and the Jewish students. Think of all
the prayers of all those people and others who pray for everybody!
How grateful we should be.
Prayer really can change hearts, stop wars and move mountains.
Let's start using this powerful tool today. Or if you've already
started then use this tool more. Here's a way to pray for everyone
in the whole world.
Find a map of the world or an atlas. You could get one at the
library if you don't have one. (On the wall of our kitchen at the
monastery we have a large map of the world.) Each day pick a
different country and pray for those people. Start with Mongolia. I
think, maybe, very few poeple are remembering this country in their
prayers. It still under Communism and there are many people there
who have never heard the names of Jesus and Mary. So start with
Mongolia and work your way around the world till you get back to
Mongolia. Spend a day, a week, a month on each country. Whatever you
like. But the important thing to realize is that you will be really
having an effect on the people for whom you are praying. Their
sufferings will be less, their worries fewer, they hearts lighter
and their joy greater because, yes, really because, you prayed for
them. What power! The power to do good; the power to help. It is so
wonderful that something so easy as saying a prayer can do so much.
As the French say, how good the good God is.
Prayer works. We should realize that it has a great potential for
good. Praying for others is a wonderful apostolate. St. Therese of
Lisieux is the co-patron of the Missions along with St. Francis
Xavier. Yet she never left her Carmelite convent in Normandy,
France. The Church calls her a great missionary and a patroness of
the Missions because she prayed for missionaries. So if you can't go
to Africa or China don't worry you can go there and work by your