Prayer: It’s the FIRST thing we should do Print
Written by By Mary C. Uhler, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Jul. 24, 2014 -- 12:00 AM

Sometimes when we are facing problems and challenges in our lives, we try many alternatives to fix the problem or meet the challenge. When all our alternatives are seemingly exhausted, we finally turn to prayer.

We say to ourselves, “Well, I guess all I can do now is pray about it.” In effect, it’s our last resort.

Experiencing many tragedies

Recently our world has been experiencing many tragedies: conflicts between the Israelis and Palestinians, shooting down of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in the Ukraine, Christians fleeing the city of Mosul in Iraq for fear of being killed by the Islamic State group . . . the list goes on.

In addition, many people have been killed and injured in weather-related disasters. People have been murdered in drive-by shootings and gang warfare in our own country.

What can we do in the midst of all these awful things happening around us? Pope Francis keeps reminding us to pray in the face of each disaster. But are we really listening to him and turning to prayer?

The power of personal prayer

In an article called “The Mystery and Power of Personal Prayer” (found at, Dr. Jeff Mirus says, “I am continually amazed at how many Catholics forget the power of personal prayer. There are priestly, consecrated, and lay apostles who make significant commitments to the active Christian life, including the Church’s liturgical life, but fail to nourish that commitment through personal prayer.”

Dr. Mirus, founder of Trinity Communications, observes that there is certainly great power in public prayer, especially in the Mass and the sacraments. But, he says, the power of Christ’s presence “cannot be absorbed and released into our own lives without personal prayer.”

The Scriptures reveal that Christ himself frequently prayed alone. He also urged his disciples to pray. He told them to pray for their enemies and those who persecute them. He warned them to pray unceasingly, saying that they would receive whatever they asked for in prayer.

He taught them the “Our Father” so they would know how to pray. He said the Father’s will would be done “on earth as it is in heaven.” He urged his disciples to be persistent in prayer: “Seek and you will find,” he said.

Make prayer the FIRST thing we do

Christ meant that advice about prayer for all of his disciples, including us in the 21st Century.

Obviously, we should make prayer the FIRST thing we do in the face of problems and challenges. We should attend Mass and receive the sacraments, of course, but we should also take time to pray alone: go to Eucharistic Adoration, pray the Rosary and “Memorare,” or just spend time talking with God.

Sometimes it may not seem like God is listening or answering our prayers, but we don’t always know how our prayers will be answered. All we can do is make the effort to pray on a regular basis and trust in God to do the rest.