Dearly beloved disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ,
In the letter from St. Paul to Timothy, St. Paul emphasizes the primacy of prayer. He encourages Timothy to relay the following message to the Ephesians…“First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity.” (1 Timothy 2:1-2) This passage seems to imply that the community in Ephesus had forgotten the importance of offering prayer to Jesus for all people and all circumstances.
Sometimes, like the Ephesians, we also tend to forget how powerful our prayers for others can be when we unite them to Jesus. Sometimes we become too busy to pray. Sometimes we begin to doubt God will answer our prayers. Sometimes we limit our prayers by only praying for the people and circumstances that are important to us. St. Paul reminds us to pray for everyone, even our leaders who we may not like, or in the case of the early Christian community, the leaders who actively persecute us as Christians.
Paul knew from personal experience the power of prayer. When Stephen was being stoned to death by the Jewish authorities, Paul was there. Paul was actively seeking out Christians to have them killed. As Stephen was being stoned to death, Stephen was praying for those who were killing him, including Paul. Stephen’s prayers may have contributed to Paul’s conversion.
Friends, today I encourage you to consider joining me in committing to 21 days of daily personal prayer. We had our first prayer workshop yesterday and were given tools to help us grow in the virtue of prayer. If you were not able to make it, simply commit to spending time each day reading and meditating on the scriptures of the day. Then ask the Holy Spirit to put on your heart the people and circumstances that He wants you to offer to Jesus in prayer. It is through developing this culture of personal prayer where we all begin to hear the Lord’s voice that we will become more open to collectively discern the vision God has for our parish and create the missionary strategic plan to make that vision a reality. Be assured that I will be praying for each of you throughout the next 21 days as we all grow stronger together in our commitment to grow in our daily personal prayer.
Your brother in Christ,
Fr. Jim Lowe, CC