A recent article in www.ncregister.com caught my attention as I was venturing through cyberspace. It was entitled “Baby Claire Hits the Jackpot!” and it referred to a young lady who was set on aborting her child before someone convinced her to go through with the pregnancy. Born in Las Vegas, young Claire had surely won the jackpot, but that was not what caught my eye. For me the larger story was hidden in one of the comments at the end of the article. Here it is in case you overlooked it: “For at least a year, my family has been praying a prayer every day to save a baby from abortion. We decided to give our baby a name, so we called her “Baby Claire.” You cannot imagine the emotions that went through our mind when I opened my e-mail this morning that a baby named Claire was saved from abortion in miraculous fashion!”
Coincidence? I think not.
Many times we lift up our prayers to God for a special intention or for someone who has asked us to pray for them, and yet we are left with the question “Does this really work?” The trouble lies in believing that our prayers are effective and that God certainly answers them. Much like a fire that raises heat into the sky we cannot always see our prayer reaching God and how he uses it. At times we even lose faith in prayer diminishing it to a mere child’s act and then give up due to a lack of immediate fruit.
We all would love to have a special machine where we place all our problems and viola, it’s all better! Unfortunately we don’t have that machine but we do have a direct line. Though you couldn’t find his number on your cell, God is a lot closer than you might think. He is waiting by the phone to pick up your call and chat one on one. This is prayer! Christ promised us that anything we ask in his Father’s name will be given. Remember that it was a promise, not a possibility.
Recently a friend of mine’s dad suffered a bad stroke and was rushed to the hospital. A priest came by to visit him and perhaps administer the sacrament of anointing of the sick, but when he saw the priest he immediately kicked him out of the room saying that he no longer believed in the Catholic Church and had no need of Jesus Christ. Though baptized Catholic, he had been away from the faith for years. My friend asked me to pray for him and together we began to hound heaven with intercessions so that his father would come back to the faith. Three days later I got an email from my friend saying that another priest had randomly walked past his father’s room and went in to pay him a visit. While there the priest heard his confession and gave him the anointing of the sick. What a surprise to hear such good news, and yet, why was there such a surprise? Today I am convinced that our prayers had a big part in my friend’s father coming back to the Church.
God answers our prayers, always and everywhere. However we must remember that God is outside of time and he acts when he chooses. Like a general overlooking a map, he sees the big picture of our salvation and acts accordingly. In praying we must trust that God will do what is best for us, even if it means an apparent unanswered prayer. But don’t think that your prayers fall on deaf ears.
Perhaps the greatest prayer we can make is this: Lord, let not my will, but Yours be done!”
Thomas A. Flynn, LC studies for the priesthood in Rome. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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