Importance of prayer in times of trouble Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Sep. 14, 2017 -- 12:00 AM

We have certainly been overwhelmed by all the disasters happening these days, from hurricanes to earthquakes to violence and discord in the world.

We may be tempted to throw in the towel, so to speak. We wonder if there is anything we can do in the face of all the turmoil.

Of course, we should respond with any kind of assistance possible. We can donate money to Catholic Charities USA and other outreach efforts. But is there anything else that we can do?

The power of prayer

I found an interesting commentary by the late Norman Vincent Peale, a minister in the Reformed Church in America, who was well known for espousing the power of positive thinking. The headline for his commentary is: “How to Pray in Times of Trouble: You can pray your way through any difficulty.”

Prayer for the Victims of the Recent Hurricanes

Lord Jesus Christ, who calmed the winds and the sea when your disciples were in peril; spare those burdened by the destruction of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, especially those who are most vulnerable — those who are sick, elderly, and poor.

Calm their souls, preserve them in their distress, and save them from the rising waters.

Protect first responders and all those seeking to rescue others. Help them endure the difficult conditions.

Stir up in all people of goodwill a determination to come to their aid and ease their suffering.

May these disasters remind us that we are completely dependent upon you and that you call us to be Good Samaritans to all in need, for you live and reign for ever and ever.

Now that’s a pretty bold statement. But Peale insists that it’s true. He admits that “trouble is part of the universe; it is basic.” But he points out that while there is no permanency to happiness, there is no permanency to trouble either.

“They both pass away. If you retain enough stick-to-it-iveness in the midst of disheartenment to keep going, you will come out on the other side of any trouble,” says Peale.

How do we do that? Peale said it’s such a simple answer: prayer. “Prayer is the greatest technique God ever gave us,” he says. “If you will pray and keep on praying and pray some more, there isn’t any difficulty that need dishearten you.”

Catholic prayers at our disposal

Catholics are fortunate. We have many great prayers at our disposal, including the Rosary. I also like the “Memorare,” including doing a novena of nine “Memorares” in times of difficulty.

Published here is a special prayer for the victims of the recent hurricanes, which was shared by the Office of Worship in the Diocese of Madison.

I’m sure most of us have already been praying during these times of trouble. But we can certainly step up our efforts by attending Mass more frequently and praying before the Lord in Eucharistic Adoration, which is offered in many of our parishes and in the chapel weekdays from 9 to 11:45 a.m. at Holy Name Heights in Madison.

We have assurance that God will hear our prayers. As it says in Philippians 4:4-7, “Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”