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Pray a Minute

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by Dominick Albano

The pious will tell you there is nothing more powerful than prayer, while the agitator will scoff and say, “You pray and I’ll actually go do something.” The meaning behind the jab is clear: To some, there is no power in prayer.

For others, belief in the power of prayer struggles to translate from the head to the heart. “Oh, of course, there is power in prayer,” the devout thinks, but when he or she encounters someone who is sick, dying or in some other terrible situation, saying, “I’ll pray for you” feels almost like an apology. Often the devout Catholic really means, “I wish I could do more.”

Perhaps some of us struggle to really believe in the power of prayer because prayer, itself, is a mystery. How does God answer prayer? What rubric does He apply to prayer requests? Even Jesus didn’t get everything He asked for in prayer: “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me.” Of course, there is another truth about prayer that we likely hold in our heads, but struggle to hold in our hearts, and it continues from the very same verse as Jesus’ famous prayer in the garden: “Yet, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matt. 26:39)

And there’s the rub. What, exactly, is God’s will? How do we know it? Can we change it? Can our minuscule little requests really bear any weight on the will of God? It seems like hope beyond hope to believe they could, but it is those who believe in and hope in prayer who often change the world.

Earlier this summer, Father John Bullock, LC, a believer in the real power of prayer, approached Archbishop Schnurr with an idea. Our country has seemingly never been more divided and we are experiencing, as Father Bullock put it, “unprecedented political, social and moral upheaval.”

Inspired by the story of Soviet troops peacefully leaving Austria in the wake of World War II after a prayer campaign championed by a local priest, Father Bullock suggested an organized and intentional campaign of prayer for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. At the request of the archbishop, a small group prayerfully discerned with Father Bullock what this united prayer effort could look like.

The Archdiocese of Cincinnati is excited to introduce you to Pray A Minute: One Million Hours of Prayer for Peace, Justice and Goodwill.

The idea is simple – with nearly 500,000 Catholics in the archdiocese, what could happen if every Catholic would pray for just one minute more than they already pray, every day, for the specific intention of peace, justice and goodwill? After some quick calculations, the math was clear: One Million Hours. If the Catholics of our archdiocese start in August and continue through the end of the year, offering just one additional minute of prayer each day, it would total more than one million hours.

The initiative will feature a special daily prayer, prayer resources delivered weekly, and there will even be opportunities for those who participate to go above and beyond the daily prayer through acts of sacrifice and other devotional practices.

It’s amazing what can happen when a lot of people each do something that’s seemingly small and insignificant. The truth about prayer is it is powerful. It is significant. Even a minute of prayer can change a life.

Starting Aug. 1, visit prayaminute.com to get more information and do your part to affirm the power of prayer.

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