Posts Tagged ‘Group Prayer’

What the World Needs Now is Prayer!

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

Tuesday Benediction

2 Chron 7:14

Dc. Larry Brockman

Reparation!  This holy hour is about reparation. 

And for sure, each of us has come here tonight in all humility to seek the forgiveness of the Lord for our personal shortcomings.   

But the fact is that we are a fractured, divided people.   Political acrimony and divisiveness permeate our country.  Our congress seems stalemated, and unable to get anything meaningful done.  Some people are so focused on the acrimony that they are actually hindering efforts to solve our problems.   

And you know what?  This environment is kind of like what the Israeli people faced at the time Chronicles was written.  But the people came together collectively in all humility to ask for God’s help- His help to heal their land.   

We need that too, we need to heal our Land.  And to do that, we need to turn from our evil ways, pray to God for forgiveness, and make reparation for our collective sins.   

When I was young, each Sunday we would pray at the foot of the altar for the conversion of Russia.  And guess what?  The communist regime fell, and now Russia’s Eastern Orthodox faith is alive and well.  True, they have a long way to go.  But our prayers worked- our collective prayers.   

We have a long way to go in this country now as well.  Much of our country has lost its faith and moral anchor.  That’s why there is so much acrimony.  So, we need to humbly come before the Lord as we have ask for God’s forgiveness and help.  And our reparation consists of the shining example of a believing, faith filled community.  A community that believes that this kind of group prayer does work.  Amen. 

When People of Faith Pray Together

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

Thursday of the 13th Week in Ordinary Time
Gen 22: 1b-19; Mt 9: 1-8
Deacon Larry Brockman

“When Jesus saw their Faith…”. That really caught my attention this morning. Picture the scene in your mind for just a moment. Jesus gets off the boat and a large crowd approaches him with a paralyzed man on a stretcher. Then try to capture just what there might have been about “them”, the people who were carrying the man, that projected great Faith? Was it their great numbers, their enthusiasm, their persistence? This, by the way is the same incident described in Mark, the one where the paralytic was lowered through the roof. So yes, these people were determined and persistent.

Or was it something that Jesus could just sense in the air- an intangible group sense of sincerity, hope, trust, even deferral amongst the people. Maybe it was all of these things. Think of a time when the sense of a crowd that you observed spoke more than anything else.
Now we too, are a people of Faith. We are sincere, committed, believers. We come together, we pray together, we know each other, we support each other, just as the people in the small town of Capernaum did. And all of us, yes every single one of us, has our share of trials and sufferings that we bear. And when we pray, we usually pray for specific solutions to our trials and specific reliefs of our sufferings. After all, that only makes sense.
Now all of us know someone we would like to collectively lower into Jesus house and ask for a healing just as the people bearing the paralytic did. They had one and only one thing in mind: this poor man was paralyzed and they sincerely wanted to see him cured. We would have only one thing in mind: our friend or relative is suffering greatly and we really believe that Jesus can heal them.

Now call back the vision of this incident in your mind. Much to everyone’s surprise, Jesus does not heal the paralytic at first. Rather, he forgives his sins. Think about that for a moment. Jesus, who is God made man, and who can look into the minds and hearts of all of the people there and the poor paralytic, decides that what is really needed is forgiveness of this man’s sins. How many times do we pray on behalf of someone else and feel that our prayers are not answered? Well, those folks who lowered the man to Jesus must have felt the same way.

The cynics in the crowd, the religious leaders, noticed this immediately, and accused Jesus of Blasphemy. You see, they believed that nobody but God could forgive sins. Now I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe that Jesus was playing games with those people. I believe his immediate response, the forgiveness of sins, was what God mandated. But given the challenge, Jesus used the situation to make an important point: that it was easier in human terms to forgive sins than to heal a paralytic. And so, Jesus went on to cure the paralysis to make the point that he was God.

Nevertheless, we can miss a major teaching in this incident if we concentrate on the cure and not Jesus’ first response. The fact is that our prayers, especially the sincere, faithful prayers of groups of people- people like families suffering as a result of the illness or infirmity of a loved one; or communities suffering from the effects of some man made or natural disaster; or groups suffering the effect of discrimination- their prayers are heard by God and they are answered. But they may not be answered in the way all of us hope or expect.

If we are lucky, we are sometimes enlightened on how God answered our prayers. We sense that things came out for the best sometime later. But in the short term, our faith may be tested. Isn’t this exactly the case in the story of Abraham and Isaac in the first reading?
So, I urge all of us to hang in their when we pray together as a group- for our families, our community, and for our nation. God hears our prayers, always, when we pray together with great faith and sincerity.