The Value of Prayer

John 16: 23b-28
Acts 18: 23-28 / Psa 47

Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask from the Father in my name He will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete.
(John 16:23-24)

Through prayer and meditation
The promise of our Lord we claim,
But in faith will our petition
Be granted in Christ Jesus’ Name.

Jesus told His disciples: “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask from the Father in my name He will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and so your joy will be complete. I have told you this in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I shall no longer speak to you in figures, but I will tell you clearly about the Father. When that day comes you will ask in my name; and I do not say that I shall pray to the Father for you, because the Father Himself loves you for loving me, and believing that I came from God. I came from the Father and have come into the world and now I am leaving the world to go to the Father.” (John 16:23b-28)

Reflection

It has been said that prayer is as old as the history of mankind. From the earliest origins of man, ever since he became conscious of his mortality and vulnerability in the midst of dangerous animals, enemies, and the forces of nature, he had learned to call on a higher power for his protection and for his needs. Real or imagined, man saw the necessity of making this act of worship a part of his culture, until the practice evolved into different forms of religion. In our own Christian tradition, we read in chap. 4 of the book of Genesis how prayer came to be the cause of the first human conflict. Cain was a farmer, and his younger brother Abel a keeper of flocks. They prayed by offering gifts to God from their produce. God favored the sacrificial offering of Abel more than Cain’s and in his jealousy, Cain murdered Abel. Apart from this strange origin of prayer, however, all the patriarchs and prophets that we find in the Old Testament communicated to God in prayer, such as for salvation (Noah); establishing an agreement (covenant made by God with Abraham); for guidance (in the case of Moses); wisdom, in the life of Joseph and Daniel; and mostly for gratitude, praise and adoration, as we read in the Psalms of the kings, David and Solomon.

For us Catholics, the highest form of prayer is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist of the mass. Our Church continued the Jewish tradition of sacrificial offering in their prayers of petition, thanksgiving and penitence, but in place of animals, our sacrificial offering is our Lord Jesus Christ Himself, Who instituted the Eucharist in the last supper with His apostles. We believe that He is present at the altar in the form of bread and wine, and as we receive Him, we become more and more like Him, and closer to God, our loving Father. In today’s Gospel, Jesus gave a solemn promise that whatever we ask the Father in His Name, we will surely receive. But we must pray in total faith that the Father knows best what we need, and not just what we want. Jesus said, “Your Father knows that you need them” (Mt.6:32). And what we pray for must be for a nobler purpose, especially for the service of His kingdom. So I had no doubt in my mind that God would answer my prayer when I asked for a brand new SUV that we could use for our long distance trips to a distant city where we planned to establish an outreach of our BCBP chapter. Not long after, the Lord answered my prayer, and now (be careful what you pray for), that mission is waiting to be established.

Dear God, as our Lord Jesus promised that you would grant whatever we ask in His Name, especially if it is for Your honor and glory, help us to fulfill what we also promised to do, for granting our prayer. Give us the grace of the Holy Spirit to persevere in bringing the Good News of the Gospel to our mission areas, as Your Son has mandated for us to do. Amen.

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