Prayer is very powerful, brothers and sisters in Christ. Prayer gives us the important link between us and the Lord our God, because prayer is a form of communication that put us in a special link, all of us, each at once, with the Lord, in a two-way conversation, that we can speak to God, and God can also speak to us.
But too often, brethren, that when we pray, we focus too much on ourselves and our selfish ideas, that we bombard the Lord with our requests, our needs, and our wishes, that we fail to listen to God speaking to us in silence. It becomes then a one-way conversation, with our voices overpowering the Lord’s voice within our hearts.
The Lord does not speak to us in audible voice, brothers and sisters. Do not expect that the Lord will announce His speaking to us with trumpets of the angels and loud voices like thunder. Instead, the voice of the Lord is like the softest breeze of the wind, that can only be heard, when we took our time and remain in silence. In silence, and in retreat from the busy schedule of our world, even for a short time, will allow us to listen to God speaking within us, in His own subtle way, and we can then know what God wants for us.
But prayer is also important because it gives us power and strength in our daily struggle against the devil and his agents in this world, that always attempt to corrupt us and all mankind with the seductions of pleasure and temporary joy, that lead to evil and damnation. Prayer gives us advantage over the devil because with prayer, we anchor ourselves and keep our link with God our Father, who is the supreme sovereign over all creations, even over Satan and his angels, and therefore, with God at our back, no one, even the devil can harm us.
Prayer makes us into a fortress of faith that protects us from the devil, and yet, with the power and wisdom of God, prayer not only protects us from the power of the evil one, but it also can bring about healing and purification in others, helping others who also struggle against the power of Satan. Prayer can overpower the devil and force him out, replacing him with the presence of God that will stay and dwell, preventing the devil from coming in again, as long as that person remain faithful in the Lord.
We need God in our fight against the devil, and our strong faith must be supplemented with the strong connection that we have to the Lord. That was why the disciples of Jesus cannot remove the devil from that young boy, because they simply did not keep up their prayer life, to anchor themselves strongly in God’s power and authority that would have triumphed over the devil.
Today, brethren, we also celebrate the feast of St. Bernardine of Siena. St. Bernardine was a great Fransiscan monk who became a great evangeliser and preacher, in Italy, where many corruptions of the world had entered the Church and the society. He campaigned strongly for the purification of the faith, and the return to the true faith, and preached strongly against the corruptions and wicked practices in the society and the Church at the time.
That is what we should do too, brothers and sisters in Christ. Even though our Church now is not like that in the past, that of the time of St. Bernardine, the world still corrupts much of our world today. It is up to us, and to the many missionaries and champions of God’s Gospels, to bring God’s light into the world. St. Bernardine of Siena, pray for us, that God will continue to strengthen our faith and give us courage to stand up against the world and the devil.