Prayers and Community

Luke 6: 12-19
1 Cor 6: 1-11 / Ps 149: 1-6, 9

Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God.
(Luke 6:12)

Jesus prayed all night to the Father
Before He began to teach and heal.
No power can ever be greater,
Believe your prayers God will fulfill!

In those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, He called His disciples to Him and chose twelve of them, whom He also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor. He went down with them and stood on a level place. A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all. (Luke 6: 12-19)

Reflection

As we can see in today’s Gospel of Luke, Jesus spent a considerable amount of time praying to the Father for guidance and wisdom before undertaking the selection of the 12 apostles. He acknowledged God in heaven as His Source of power. On many occasions whenever He performed His major miracles, Jesus always prayed to the Father before He acted. When He fed the five thousand, He looked up to heaven (Lk.9:16) then said the blessing over the loaves of bread and the fish before distributing them. He was praying on the mountain with His three apostles when He was transfigured before them (Lk.9:29). When He raised His friend Lazarus from the dead, Jesus first prayed to the Father (Jn.11:41-42). In fact from the very beginning of His ministry, when He prayed and fasted for forty days in the desert, to the very end, when He prayed intently in the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus showed His disciples and all of us the importance of being in communion with God through prayer.

Many of us have experienced God’s healing touch through the intercession of friends and relatives in their prayers. Barely a week ago, in one Gospel reflection (September 5, For a Greater Healing) I requested for your prayers when I felt excruciating pain in my back due to an arthritic condition. It was not that I had little faith in my doctor, but that I have greater faith in my ‘Other Physician’, and I did believe that “instead of the painkillers, prayers might be a healthier alternative.” And sure enough, after only a few days, without any medication, the shooting pains in my back had miraculously disappeared, thanks be to God, and to your prayers.

The power of prayers is always evident in our spiritual community. When our Lord chose His twelve apostles, He was establishing the first prayer community. Jesus shows us that we cannot be as effective in our ministry unless we belong to a community. There is no such thing as a “Lone Ranger” in the apostolate of bringing others to Christ. Alone in the meadow, a solitary tree is vulnerable to strong winds, but in the forest, a tree can grow straight, tall and strong. Such is the value of our spiritual community. All of us in the renewal agree that there is no substitute to community. It is our support group, because our brothers and sisters are our prayer intercessors.

Lord God, thank You for bringing us to our community. It has always encouraged us every time we come to You in prayer for strength and guidance. It has been a great influence in this new way of life, especially in learning the efficacy of prayers. Through our community, may we seek out others who are still searching for Your Light, and bring them to Your Beloved Son, Jesus, Who has shown us the Way. Amen.

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