the revolution in prayer
"As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight." —Exodus 17:11
Moses at first prayed intermittently while Joshua fought a battle. Moses learned from experience that he needed to pray continually during the time of the battle. Moses had no thought of praying always during daily life; he was just learning to pray always during a battle.
Well over a thousand years later, Jesus spoke of "the necessity of praying always and not losing heart" (Lk 18:1). No one had ever said such things about prayer. Jesus revolutionized the meaning, practice, and power of prayer by baptizing us in the Holy Spirit (see Mk 1:8). The Spirit "helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought" (Rm 8:26). Praying in the Spirit, we can pray:
- always (1 Thes 5:17),
- to our Father as the Spirit cries out in our hearts "Abba" ("Father") (Gal 4:6),
- for our enemies (Mt 5:44),
- in other languages (see 1 Cor 12:10),
- with the angels and saints at the throne of God (see Rv 5:8),
- with the power to "renew the face of the earth" (Ps 104:30),
- and fast so as to drive out demons (Mt 17:21, NAB).
Are you praying B.C. or A.D.? Are you praying before Pentecost or after Pentecost? Are you praying always in the Spirit? Come, Holy Spirit!
Prayer: Father, send the Holy Spirit so that I will pray my best.
Promise: "I tell you, He will give them swift justice." Lk 18:8
Praise: "Because of his affliction he shall see the light in fullness of days; through his suffering, my servant shall justify many, and their guilt he shall bear" (Is 53:11). Praise the risen Jesus!
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, March 11, 2019
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