A force to reckon with
The Inquirer once featured the story of a bemedaled policeman who got hooked on drugs, was convicted of a serious crime, and sentenced to a 12-year term at the New Bilibid Prison.
“Behind bars, stripped of everything that had been his crutches … —drugs, money, gun, authority, power and family — he felt like a filthy rag. In a moment of tormenting despondency, he remembered God.” He called on Him and asked for forgiveness. Today, the man serves as a church pastor, finding peace and fulfillment in his ministry.
Charles Colson was known as a powerful political “hatchet man” during the time of US President Richard Nixon. He plotted smear campaigns, drank heavily, and was a chain smoker, until he was implicated in the sensational Watergate case. He was convicted and jailed. A friend, businessman Tom Phillips, tried to help him by praying for him and encouraging him to read the Bible and seek God’s grace. Soon, Colson found himself embarking on a journey to real freedom. He began a ministry for his fellow inmates and worked for improvements in the justice system. Upon his release, he founded the Prison Fellowship Ministries and spent his remaining years sharing the Word throughout the world.
When he was a young boy, Philip Fariñas strayed away from home. After many years of futile efforts to find him, his distraught brothers and sisters sought the help of a television network. Philip was located by the TV team. A tearful and happy reunion capped the story. Philip was thankful that he stayed healthy all through those trying years that he was away from his family—all because he knew his loved ones were praying for him all the time.
Praying is indeed a life-changing work, a force to reckon with especially in confusing and terrifying times.
Every day, we hear news reports that can make us feel fearful and distrustful. Who can we turn to and where can we seek refuge and relief from violence, drug-related crimes, terrorism, rebellion, political hostilities, corruption in government, injustices, and worldwide catastrophe?
Thankfully, there is a divine faculty assuring us that an all-knowing God is everywhere, listening to the intent prayers of those who believe and trust in Him.
To pray is to acknowledge our dependence on our Creator, Father, Provider and Protector. Prayer is a facet of an abiding and active faith, generating in us an illuminating form of energy that enables us to see our true selves—our blind spots, our selfishness, our hypocrisy, and our spiritual bankruptcy. When we pray with contrite hearts, we realize our mistakes and wrongdoing and the atonement and expiation that we have to make. Thus, we are able to commune with God in a spirit of truthfulness and humility.
In these crucial times, praying with a burden should be an integral part of our life. It means standing in the gap for others who need help in carrying out their duties and responsibilities.
As ordinary citizens, we can help in governance indirectly by praying for our officials in all branches of the government, particularly those who are in great need of spiritual conviction and guidance. Some of them may be too harassed, stressed out, or burned out to pray. While watching Senate or House hearings, we can entreat God to give the people involved the wisdom, moral courage and strength to bring out the truth. Rather than giving in to frustration and bickering, we can use prayer as a force to move the mountains of problems plaguing our nation.
Sometimes we feel a nudge to pray for strangers without their knowledge — vendors, street children, beggars, teachers and students in far-flung areas, soldiers and policemen in high-risk assignments, elderly persons who are poor and neglected, persons with disability, and families in crisis situations. That nudge could be a prompting from the Holy Spirit who works changes in people’s lives in many unimaginable ways.
“God’s acquaintance is not made by hurried visits,” said E.M. Bounds, an American writer and minister. “Much time with God alone is the secret of knowing Him and of influence with Him.”
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Prosy Badiola Torrechante says she likes reading and watching feel-good TV shows.
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