If a Christian is to have a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God, prayer is essential. St. Thérèse of Lisieux said “prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.” St. John Damascene said “prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God.”
Pray at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. Ephesians 6:18
After the tragic mass shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas last Sunday, it is imperative that in the midst of our pain and our sorrow, we look toward heaven, to the Father who loves us. This event is evidence of the power of evil that lurks in the world seeking to destroy all that is holy and just and beautiful. In times like this, many do not know how or what to pray. God hears our groaning from the depths of our hearts even when we do not have the words to say.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words. Romans 8:26
The Catechism of the Catholic Church says “humility is the foundation of prayer, only when we humbly acknowledge that ‘we do not know how to pray as we ought (Rom 8:26),’ are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer” (CCC, 2559). Oh the wonder and gift of God!
The Catechism goes on to say…
“If you knew the gift of God!” The wonder of prayer is revealed beside the well where we come seeking water: there, Christ comes to meet every human being. It is he who first seeks us and asks us for a drink. Jesus thirsts; his asking arises from the depths of God’s desire for us. Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.
There is power in prayer. God has designed marriage to be a witness of His love to the world. With marriage and family life in crisis, it is no wonder that the world does not know a personal and loving God. To repair the culture, we need to restore marriage and family according to God’s plan. Marriage is to be an icon that points us to God. But it is under attack. Pray fervently to protect your family from the onslaught of the evil one.
You would have asked him, and he would have given you living water” (Jn 4:10). Paradoxically our prayer of petition is a response to the plea of the living God: “They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water!”(Jer 2:13). Prayer is the response of faith to the free promise of salvation and also a response of love to the thirst of the only Son of God (Cf. Jn 7:37-39; 19:28; Isa 12:3; 51:1; Zech 12:10; 13:1).
“They have forsaken me, the fountain of living waters, and hewn out cisterns for themselves, broken cisterns that can hold no water!”(Jer 2:13). Those without hope, those whose thirst is not slaked by the Living Waters offered to us by Jesus Christ, are ridiculing Christians for praying in the midst of this tragedy. Not only were lives lost in the First Baptist Church mass murder, but many more lives are being lost because their faith is in their own merit and effort, not in the “free promise of salvation” from the living God through the death of His Son Jesus Christ on the cross.
Finally, the Catechism says…
…prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Kingdom is “the union of the entire holy and royal Trinity…with the whole human spirit (St. Gregory of Nazianzus, Oratio, 16,9:PG 35,945). Thus, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him.
Prayer is a gift from God. He thirsts for us and the Holy Spirit puts a desire in our hearts to thirst for Him. Prayer is a relationship that needs to be nurtured in order for it to grow and flourish. Spend time in prayer and ask God to fill you with His love, compassion, and mercy. And please join us in praying for the families that lost loved ones at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas. God longs to hear from you.
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
 Manuscrits autobiographiques, C 25r.
 Defide orth. 3, 24:PG 94,1089C.
 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2nd Edition (Washington, D.C.: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2000), 2560.
 Ibid., 2561.
 Ibid., 2565