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The Saint Andrew Novena Begins Today!


 

One of my favorite devotions, The Saint Andrew Novena, begins today! It is piously believed that whoever recites this prayer fifteen times a day from the Feast of Saint Andrew (Nov 30) until Christmas will obtain what is asked. Does this mean that God will give you anything, even something that may be harmful to you spiritually? Fortunately, no! However, I have received miraculous favors since I started praying this novena a few years ago and I believe in its power.

Here’s EWTN’s Fr. Joseph Mary speaking about his personal experience with the St. Andrew Novena:

Here is the novena prayer:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

We’ll be praying this novena every night until Christmas on my Following The Truth radio show. In addition to the spiritual benefits, it’s a GREAT way to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. Why not give it a try?

Discerning God’s Will In 3 Steps!


 

What does God want me to do?

This is a question that many of us wrestle with frequently. When I was trying to discern whether to go full time as a Catholic Evangelist, I was very happy to discover that St. Ignatius of Loyola had devised a set of guidelines for making decisions. Unfortunately, I found his recommendations to be a bit complicated. With some careful reading and the help of some other books, however, I was able to come up with a simplified version of St. Ignatius’ 3 Modes of Discernment. If you’re trying to make a decision and you truly want to do God’s Will, try these 3 steps in order. If the first one works for you, there’s no need to move on to the second. If the second one works, there’s no need to go on to the third. If you get to the third mode, keep trying…it WILL work!

Before beginning, you have to commit to three things:

1. You must be willing to choose the option that God wants, even if it’s not what you want.

2. You must desire above all to please God and your choice should reflect that desire.

3. You must immediately rule out any options which are immoral (go against Church teachings).

Now let’s look at the 3 Modes of Discernment as developed by Saint Ignatius of Loyola:

1. No Doubt – You positively know that one of the options is God’s Will and that you have no doubts at all. This one is hard to explain, but you understand it when it happens. It occurs when you feel completely drawn to an option and you KNOW that it’s God’s Will.

2. Heart’s Desire – Slightly more complex, this mode of discernment involves consolations (spiritual joy, love, hope in things of above) and desolations (sadness, lack of love, spiritual dryness). St Ignatius recommends that if we don’t receive clarity in the first mode (clarity beyond doubting), that we dwell on the second mode. According to St. Ignatius, the person should attentively observe “when he finds himself in consolation, to which part (which option in the choice) God moves him, and likewise when he finds himself in desolation.”

For example, if you are trying to decide between keeping your current job or accepting a new job offer, determine which job attracts you during periods of consolation. If you repeatedly feel called to keep your current job during periods of consolation, there’s a good chance that this is what God wants you to do. Additionally, during periods of desolation, you should expect to feel a call to accept the new job offer (the opposite choice). The key is to be patient (this mode of discernment could take months or even years) and look for a reoccurring pattern. Consolations and desolations are a normal part of the spiritual life and can be very useful in discerning God’s Will.

3. Pros and Cons – If the first two methods don’t reveal God’s Will, it’s time to move on to the 3rd Mode of Discernment. It’s recommended by St. Ignatius that this mode be used during periods of tranquility (when the soul is at peace and free from passions which may influence your decision).

This method involves making a list of the pros and cons of each option. These pros and cons should be spiritually based and not be based on personal preferences such as financial considerations or level of comfort. Once you create this list, the following two ways can be used to arrive at a decision:

First Way
1. Place before myself the options.
2. Without any attachments, say “whatever you want, Lord”.
3. Ask the Lord to move you toward the option that will bring Him greater glory.
4. Consider the spiritual pros and cons of each choice.
5. Make your choice.
6. Turn to the Lord and place your choice before Him, asking Him to confirm it by granting you peace.

Second Way (to be used if the first way doesn’t provide clarity)
1. Do I seek to choose solely out of love for God?
2. How would I advise a person I’ve never met before if they were faced with the same choice?
3. Which option would I choose at the moment of my death?
4. On the day of my judgment, which option do I wish I had chosen?
5. Make your choice.
6. Ask the Lord to confirm your choice.

Please remember that discernment can be a complicated process and can take a long time to unfold. Be patient and make it a point to frequently meditate on the Gospels. In addition, a spiritual director or a trusted friend can be very valuable in the discernment process.

I have tried to simplify the principles of Saint Ignatius so that they can be a little less intimidating. For more information, I suggest reading the following books:

Discerning the Will of God by Fr. Timothy Gallagher

How to Listen When God Is Speaking by Fr. Mitch Pacwa

Sometimes The “Healthy” Are The Ones Who Need Healing


 

Even though I’ve never met her personally, I’ve been touched by the plight of Angela Faddis, a young wife and mother who is currently in hospice care as she battles Stage 4 colon cancer. Responding to the plea for prayers by her husband, Chris, I used my website to organize a spiritual bouquet for Angela. To date, over 34,000 Hail Marys have been prayed for her by visitors to my site. Although remaining open to the Will of God, I have been praying for a complete miraculous healing for Angela. While the Lord may still bring about that physical healing, an unexpected phenomenon is taking place. Although Angela has not been healed of her cancer, many people who are praying for her are being healed. What’s interesting is that many of them didn’t even realize that they were sick! Chris Faddis recently posted this on the Support Angela Faddis Facebook fan page:

I’ve heard from several people this week who have begun going back to Church because of Angela’s inspiration. I can’t tell humbling that is as a husband. But I want to just go ahead and encourage anyone else who is reading this page. If you are feeling a tug at your heart to pray more, or go to Mass or Church, or to go to Confession, or to begin seeking forgiveness from someone or to recommit to your relationships… whatever you are being moved to do because of Angela’s journey – PLEASE DO IT! Be not afraid!

You have no idea how much it means for us to know that God is healing other souls through our family’s journey. Angela and I will be praying for all of you who are feeling a tug to get back to Church this weekend, if you need specific prayers, please message us.

Love,
The Faddis’ Family

As Christians, we know that Jesus can heal the sick. We’ve seen many instances of this in the Bible and in our own lives. What we need to learn, however, is who the sick really are. Many times those who are seemingly healthy are the ones most in need of healing. Spiritual sickness is much worse than physical sickness because it can affect our salvation. Although we are saddened when we look at the Faddis family’s situation, much good is coming out of it.

Through her illness, this brave young women is teaching us the value of redemptive suffering. From her bed, she is instructing us in a way that far surpasses anything that can be found in a text book. By accepting his wife’s illness, Chris Faddis is reminding each of us that faith involves looking past the difficulties of life and trusting that the Lord has a better plan. If you want to learn a powerful lesson, please take a few minutes and watch the following video. Let Angela speak directly to you and then listen to singer Tom Booth as he delivers a message that we all need to hear.

This, my friends, is what faith is all about…

10 Great Examples Of Biblical Prayer


 

According to Saint John Damascene, prayer is “the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God”. Unfortunately, we often overlook the importance of prayer in our lives, forgetting that every time we pray something happens. That “something” is an outpouring of grace which either affects us or those around us. In an attempt to provide some good examples of prayer, I’ve chosen 10 samples from the pages of the Bible. By studying these examples and incorporating them into our prayers, we’ll be able to “beef up” our spiritual lives and grow closer to the Lord.

1. Abraham Intercedes for Sodom – One of the earliest Biblical examples of prayer can be found when Abraham interceded for the city of Sodom (Genesis 18:22-33). Standing before the Lord, Abraham pleaded with Him to spare the immoral city based on the fact that some holy people lived there. We all know people who have turned away from God and live an immoral lifestyle. Abraham’s example reminds us that we should pray for their conversion and ask the Lord to be merciful.

2. Solomon’s Prayer for Wisdom – When informed by the Lord in a dream to ask for something (1 Kings 3:5-14), Solomon didn’t ask for riches or treasures, but requested an understanding mind so that he could discern good from evil. Pleased by this noble plea, God also granted him riches and honor. We often have our priorities in the wrong order and pray solely for temporal (or temporary) things. If we learn to focus more on spiritual goods, we’ll find that the Lord will also provide for our material needs.

3. Prayer of Desperation – Found in Psalm 22 and later repeated by Jesus as He died on the Cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” is a prayer familiar to many. It is a desperate plea for the Lord’s assistance when all seems hopeless. We should not be ashamed to use these words, but rather look at them as a cry for help. Those who are prone to anxiety should become familiar with this prayer and not hesitate to use it when necessary. We all encounter those times when it feels as if we’re facing our problems alone. Calling out to the Lord will allow us to experience His presence and feel the peace that only He can give.

4. The Tax Collector’s Prayer – One of the simplest, but most eloquent expressions of true contrition can be found in the Lord’s parable of the “Pharisee and the Tax Collector” (Luke 18:9-14). Praying in the temple, without lifting his eyes, this humble sinner prayed, “God, be merciful to me a sinner”. Direct and to the point, we should make these words our own and pray them every day!

5. Saul’s Question – Saul of Tarsus (better known as St. Paul) was deeply affected by his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus. During the 2nd of the 3 times that he relates this story (Acts 22:4-16), Paul mentions a question that he asked of the Lord. In reality, it is a prayer and one that we should pray frequently. “What shall I do, Lord?” (Acts 22:10) is something that we should ask God each day. Instead of telling the Lord what He can do for us, it would be nice to ask what we can do for Him. What is Your Will for me, Lord?

6. The Wedding At Cana – As Christians, we are encouraged to pray for one another. My favorite example of intercessory prayer in the Bible can be seen at the wedding in Cana (John 2:1-11). I especially like this example because of the Blessed Mother’s involvement. There is a crisis – the wine has run out at a wedding feast and something needs to be done. Without being asked, Mary goes directly to Jesus and simply states, “they have no wine”. He responds by performing His first miracle and turning water into wine. The moral of the story? Mary is always standing by, ready to take our needs to her Son!

7. The Magnificat – Based on several Old Testament verses, Mary’s famous prayer (Luke 1:46-55) is a great example of humility and gratitude. Knowing full well that everything good in her is attributable to God, Mary responds to Elizabeth’s praise by extolling the Lord’s greatness, emphasizing her own lowliness and recalling His providence for the chosen people. St. Louis de Montfort loved this prayer and recommended that it be recited at solemn moments, such as after receiving Holy Communion.

8. Prayer of Abandonment to God’s Will – When He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before He died, Jesus gave us a perfect example of abandonment to God’s Will (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:40-46). Even though it’s not always possible to know God’s Will with certainty, appending the phrase “but not as I will but as You will” to our petitions ensures that we are submitting to His Will.

9. The Lord’s Prayer – Asked by one of His disciples to “teach us to pray” (Luke 11:1), Jesus responded with the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4). Often referred to as the “perfect prayer”, the Our Father contains it all: praise (“hallowed be Thy name”), contrition (“forgive us our trespasses”), petition (“give us this day our daily bread”) and submission to God’s Will (“Thy Will be done”). We can NEVER go wrong by praying these words!

10. Forgiveness – Sometimes it’s hard to find the words (or the desire) to forgive those who offend us. Since we know that we are always called to forgive, however, we must find a way. Here is a 10 word prayer first spoken by Jesus as He suffered on the cross. Remember it the next time you need to forgive someone. It expresses all that needs to be said! “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

The preceding examples, taken from the pages of the Bible, were designed to illustrate some of the qualities of effective and meaningful prayer. Humility, sincerity, and faith are important characteristics of prayers that are pleasing to God. Studying these examples can help us to enhance our prayers by incorporating some of the methods used by the holy men and women who have gone before us. By praying often and sincerely, we’ll get closer and closer to the Lord until one day we’ll be praying with the angels and saints in Heaven!

Why God Sometimes Says “No”


 

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles. (Psalm 34:17)

We’ve all experienced those occasions when our prayers seem to have gone “unanswered”. Given the many comments in the Bible regarding the Lord hearing our prayers, could there really be such a thing as “unanswered prayer”? While the obvious answer is “no”, why is it that we sometimes ask but don’t receive?

In order to answer this question, let’s first be honest about what we mean by “unanswered prayer”. Basically, when we use this term, we’re not saying God didn’t answer, but rather that His answer was “no”. This leads to another important question (and one that IS answerable), “Why does God sometimes say ‘no'”? Let’s open up the Bible and look at some reasons why the Lord may deny our requests:

Lack of humility – Sometimes we feel that we know what’s best and proceed to tell God what we need. Even worse, we get angry when He doesn’t answer fast enough or in the way that we want. One of my favorite examples of humble prayer is the Syrophoenician woman whose daughter was possessed by a demon (Mark 7:24-30). Trying to help her daughter, the woman fell down at the feet of Jesus and begged for His help. Her posture alone speaks volumes about her mindset. She is approaching Jesus humbly, as a beggar. When the Lord responded to her plea with “It is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs”, she was not fazed and replied, “Yes Lord, yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs”. She didn’t complain, she wasn’t offended and, more importantly, she didn’t give up. Instead, she continued to ask, humbly trusting in the Lord’s ability to help. The result? Her daughter was healed. What would have happened if the woman took offense and stormed off after the Lord’s initial response?

Lack of faith – When the disciples came to Jesus and asked why they were unsuccessful in casting a demon out of a boy, the Lord’s response was blunt and to the point – “Because of your little faith” (Matthew 17:20)! When we approach Jesus with a request, do we really believe in His power? Maybe, but that can change in a hurry, especially when a sick relative for whom we’re praying starts to take a turn for the worse. How important is faith when we pray? According to Jesus, “whatever you ask for in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith” (Matthew 21:22). Does that mean that every time God doesn’t grant our request it’s because our faith is lacking? No, but it could be a contributing factor and should be addressed. Before you panic about your weak faith, however, remember that faith is a gift and you can’t increase it on your own. What you can do is ask the Lord to increase your faith, just like the father of the boy with a mute spirit, “I do believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

Asking for the wrong things – Let’s be honest, sometimes we pray for the wrong things. Even though it may be unintentional, we often ask for things that will increase our comfort and could harm our relationship with the Lord. That new job might pay more money and help us to better provide for our family, but it may require us to work extra hours which could cut into our family time. The increased earnings and security could also cause us to rely less on God, thinking that we are in total control of our lives. Once again, Scripture offers a clear answer to why we sometimes ask, but do not receive – You ask and you do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions (James 4:3).

It may be harmful to us – Sometimes we ask for things that would be harmful to us spiritually. These seemingly “good” things could possibly cause us to lose our salvation. Even though Jesus promised that if we ask, we’ll receive, He never said that we’ll get EXACTLY what we requested. In fact, He assured us that we would not be given anything that is not good for us:

“Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” (Matthew 7:9-11)

Instead of upsetting us, Jesus’ words should cause us to rejoice and give us confidence to ask for whatever we think we need. Ultimately, we know that the Father will never provide us with something harmful, even if we unwittingly request it!

He has something better in mind – As hard as it is to admit, sometimes we just can’t see the big picture. God always knows what’s best for us and for those around us. He also has a plan for our lives and that often involves doing things that we’d rather not do. Very few people would pray for increased suffering or more crosses in their life. As human beings who have a tendency to avoid pain and suffering, that is perfectly normal. Sometimes, however, doing God’s will involves suffering and even death. I have personally prayed for the physical healing of cancer-stricken relatives who have died. Does that mean that God didn’t answer my prayers? Not at all. He simply said “no” to the physical healing because it wasn’t what was best. One of my favorite and most comforting Bible verses is Romans 8:28 – We know that in everything God works for good with those who love Him. Not just the good things, but EVERYTHING! Sometimes, my friends, we just have to trust that God knows more than we do. While we should never stop asking, we should be open to His answer. One of the best illustrations of this can be found by looking at Jesus’ prayer on the night before He died. Providing us with a powerful example of how we should pray for our needs, but remain open to God’s response, He used the following words:

“Father, if you are willing, remove this chalice from me; nevertheless not my will, but yours, be done.” (Luke 22:42)

It’s perfectly acceptable for you to pray that your husband is healed from cancer or that you get that new job, but always be open to God’s Will. He sees the big picture and really does know what’s best. Imitate the example given to us by Jesus and always trust in His providence.

Although it’s difficult to accept, we need to trust that God always has a reason for saying “no” to our requests. He does this out of love and because He “desires all men to be saved” (1 Timothy 2:4). Just like any loving parent, the Lord will sometimes say “no” because it really is what’s best for us. We may not get it now, but someday we’ll thank Him!

Can God Cure Cancer? YES…Give Him A Chance!


 

“Don’t you know God can cure cancer just like a toothache?” (Venerable Solanus Casey, to a woman who believed she had cancer)

Do you believe God can cure cancer? While most of us would probably answer in the affirmative, our minds may change if we or a loved one is diagnosed with the dreaded disease. The developing situation with Angela Faddis has caused me to think about just how often we doubt the Lord’s power, buying into the false belief that some problems are too big for God to handle. Having this mindset will often cause us to not pray about a situation, thinking that there is no hope. If we open up the Bible, however, we’ll see that Jesus says otherwise:

“Ask and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)

The Lord’s statement couldn’t be any clearer – if we ask we will receive. Note that there is no disclaimer that cancer or “impossible” situations are not included. He simply tells us to ask and it will be given to us. Out of all the people who approached Jesus for healing in the Bible, NEVER once was anyone turned away. They always received the healing they needed. While there is no guarantee that we’ll always receive a physical healing, we can rest assured that our prayers will be answered in the best possible way (Matthew 7:9-11). We will receive EXACTLY what we need!

When faced with an “impossible” situation, we sometimes give up and think “what’s the use?”…BIG MISTAKE! In 1997, my wife was pregnant with our twins (Mary and Elizabeth) and we were told many times that they would not be born alive. My faith was pretty lukewarm at the time and I remember wrestling with the question of whether or not God could cure them. In spite of the grim prognosis, I wanted to believe that “with God all things are possible” (Luke 1:37). Desperate to help my children, I asked the Lord to increase my faith so that I’d believe that He COULD heal the girls. Amazingly, I began to believe that it was possible. At that point, I began to act. I started to pray, contacted a local newspaper reporter (asking for prayers), spread the word at church, and reached out to anyone and everyone. My wife even called a local Catholic radio show and asked for prayers. Although I didn’t know whether or not God would physically heal the girls, I did believe that He COULD heal them. This was a huge step for me, one which brought me much comfort and strengthened my relationship with the Lord. As the word spread and more people continued to pray, the situation began to improve. The days passed and the girls remained alive, defying the odds. Today, Mary and Elizabeth are healthy 14 year old girls. What would have happened if I didn’t bother to pray (or ask others for prayers), thinking that their condition was hopeless? I don’t even want to think about it!

No matter how hopeless a situation looks, ALWAYS pray about it! If you don’t ask, you may not receive! God’s power is greater than any problem we could encounter. While we can never be sure of exactly how He will respond, we can take comfort that He will answer in the way that’s best for us. If you’re having difficulty believing that the Lord can work miracles in your life, borrow the prayer of the father of the boy with a mute spirit…

“I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24)

Spiritual Bouquet For Angela Faddis


 

Many of you are familiar with the story of Angela Faddis, a young wife and mother of 2 who is battling untreatable Stage 4 colon cancer. The doctors have recently declared that there is nothing else that can be done for her medically. As Christians, however, we believe strongly in the power of prayer and Jesus’ instruction to “ask and it will be given you, seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7).

In 1997, my wife and I were told by many doctors that our twins, Mary and Elizabeth would not be born alive. Although we were devastated, we spread the word and asked as many people as possible to pray for us. Even though we were realistic and knew that there was a good chance the girls would not survive, we took the advice of Our Lord and asked, sought, and knocked. As we struggled to get through each day, we were comforted by numerous prayers, some of which came from people we didn’t even know. Ultimately, the Lord physically healed our twins and today Mary and Elizabeth are healthy 14 year old girls!

Angela’s situation is gravely serious and I’m not trying to bury my head in the sand. Only the Lord knows whether she will survive. What I do know with certainty is that God can cure her cancer in the blink of an eye. As a result, I’d like to send her a spiritual bouquet containing as many Hail Marys as possible. Just as she did at the Wedding at Cana, I’m asking Our Lady to take our request to her Son, knowing that He will do what’s best.

If you’d like to participate, please begin praying and update the number of Hail Marys that you prayed. I’ll keep track of the count and update the count at the top right hand corner of my site. Please spread the word and let’s get as many people praying for Angela and her family as possible. On the Support Angela Faddis Facebook fan page, her husband posted that “Angela is very aware of all of your prayers”. Please update your Hail Mary counts often by visiting this post or by updating the fields in the upper right hand corner of my website. I’ll be updating the totals as requests come in.

Let’s “storm Heaven” on behalf of our sister in Christ, fully believing that “with God all things are possible”. (Matthew 19:26)

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Number of Hail Marys prayed

Pray The Rosary For Angela Faddis


 

8/18/12 UPDATE: Even though my radio program aired on Friday evening, you can still listen to the podcast and pray along. It can be accessed here or in iTunes Please continue to keep Angela and her family in your prayers! Thank you and God Bless, Gary.

Angela Faddis is a young mother of 2 (and the wife of Catholic speaker and writer Chris Faddis) who is battling Stage 4 colon cancer and needs our help. From the “Support Angela Faddis” Facebook page:

We had of course hoped and prayed that perhaps this surgeon would see some possibilities, but in the end – what we got today was cold, hard reality. While it was hard to swallow, we appreciated his honesty and his candor. The bottom line is that medically speaking, Angela’s cancer is incurable and most doctors do not see a whole lot of hope for Angela – medically speaking. Essentially what he told us was that every surgical option available would most likely prove lethal for Angela.

So, what does this mean? Well as one other doctor put it, we can do chemotherapy, or we can begin looking at hospice and end of life care. This is a grim reality. They will not give a prognosis, but standard medical care with chemotherapy is said to provide a 2-5 year life extension for someone with advanced stage cancer. There are also alternative treatments out there – like some of the treatments Angela received that will also prolong life. Studies show that one of those treatments can give a 40% increase in survival time when given in combination to chemotherapy.

In all of this, we know that our true hope lies in God. It is easy to find hope in a certain treatment, or surgery or Cancer Center. It is easy to place our hope in a clinical trial or some other means, but in the end our hope is in Christ. Our faith urges us to seek healing and to never stop hoping. Our faith in Christ prompts us to pray for a miracle but also be willing to accept whatever outcome we are given. I am ready to accept God’s will – but I am also in constant prayer that God would, in his loving mercy, heal Angela and give our kids and I a long life with her.

Still, our hope ultimately rests in heaven. As Angela posted a few days ago – this journey we are all on is about a journey to heaven. Unity with God in the Trinity is our ultimate vocation and to that end, we know that no matter the outcome, God’s will be done.

“So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.” Heb 4:16

With this I ask you to continue to your prayer for our family and if you see fit, beg God for a miracle on our behalf. Your intense prayer for us has been an incredible gift. How can we lose hope when we know that so many are seeking God on our behalf?

On Friday, August 17 at 8 PM Eastern, I will devote the first half of my Following The Truth radio show to praying a rosary for Angela. We know that “with God all things are possible”, so I’m asking as many people as possible to join me in praying for a miracle.

If you’d like to join me in prayer, simply click here at 8 PM Eastern Friday and the show will begin to play. You can also click on the link now and set a reminder and you will receive an email when the show is about to start. If you can’t listen live, the podcast will be available in the BlogTalkRadio archives and iTunes.

Please share this post with as many people as possible. Our sister in Christ (and her family) needs our help!

The Family That Prays Together…

 

…Stays Together!!!

Believe it or not, these pictures aren’t staged. Every night when Eileen, Mary, Elizabeth and I kneel down to say our evening prayers, Gracie comes running as soon as she hears the beginning of the Our Father! Now, if your pet doesn’t pray with you, don’t feel bad. Gracie hasn’t learned all of the words to the Lord’s prayer yet and her examination of conscience (prior to the Act of Contrition) leaves something to be desired, but…

we’re working on it!

Don’t Take The Our Father So Personally!

 

Are you kidding me? How can I not take the Lord’s Prayer personally? It allows me to communicate directly with my Heavenly Father and has been called the “Perfect Prayer”. Why shouldn’t I take it personally? Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let me explain what I mean. While it’s important (and encouraged) to have a personal relationship with our Heavenly Father, we want to make sure we don’t limit the effectiveness of this powerful prayer by focusing solely on our own personal intentions. Although we should pray for our own needs, we shouldn’t forget the needs of our brothers and sisters located around the world. The Lord’s Prayer provides the perfect opportunity for this type of global outreach. Need some examples?

Our Father Who Art In Heaven – The title says it all. He’s not just “my” Father, but the Father of my co-workers, the person who just cut me off in traffic, the irate customer who just yelled at me on the phone, the criminals whose mug shots appear in the newspaper, the homeless man begging on the street corner and everyone else on the face of the earth. When we pray the Lord’s Prayer, we speak on behalf of each of these individuals and ask for God’s blessings to be poured out upon them.

Hallowed Be Thy Name – On behalf of the entire human race, Father, I ask that Your name be made holy on earth. May those who ignore You learn to love You. Forgive those who use Your name in vain and allow them to see why this is wrong. Allow the entire world to have a greater appreciation of Your mercy and learn to turn to You in times of trouble.

Thy Kingdom Come – Jesus proclaimed that “the time is fulfilled and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:14). We ask You, Heavenly Father, that this truly takes place in the world. Allow us to see the need for repentance and grant us the grace to turn away from sin. And let Your kingdom spread throughout the world.

Thy Will Be Done, On Earth As It Is In Heaven – In addition to praying that God’s will be done in our own lives, let’s pray that His will be done everywhere in the world. That means no more abortion, crime, pornography, hatred and selfishness. That’s the way it is in Heaven. Let’s pray that it will be this way on earth!

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread – By praying this one petition on behalf of the entire human race, we are placing our trust in God’s providence. We pray that all of the starving people will obtain food, we pray that all atheists will come to know and love the Lord, we pray that the unemployed will find jobs and we pray that everyone will receive and accept the grace they need to get to Heaven. By concentrating on “this day” (and not tomorrow), we put our faith in God’s providence and follow Jesus’ command to avoid worrying about tomorrow (Matthew 6:34).

Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us – If we think beyond our own personal needs, we can ask the Father to forgive the sins of the entire world and request that they be able to practice that forgiveness as well. Can you imagine what the world would be like if that became a reality?

Lead Us Not Into Temptation – Help us to avoid gossip, selfishness, sexual immorality and greed. We are surrounded by temptation and need your help, Lord. Our human weakness makes it impossible to avoid these sins, but with your grace, we can do it.

Deliver Us From Evil – Father, we were created to live forever with you in Heaven, but we sometimes lose sight of that fact and turn away from You. On behalf of all of Your children, please allow us to achieve our salvation and live with You in perfect happiness.

There you have it! By broadening our focus as we pray the Our Father, we can intercede for all of God’s children throughout the world. Many of them don’t even realize that they should be asking the Father for these things, so we can step in and help them out. While the Lord’s Prayer can and should be very personal to us, let’s not limit the Father’s generosity. There is more than enough grace to go around. Let’s share it with the rest of the world!