Prayer and Work

A busy bishop once wrote of a time in his ministry when he gave greater priority to work than to prayer. He would often speak to others about the importance of prayer, but he didn’t practice what he preached. It wasn’t until fellow priests challenged him about this that he made “quality time” for prayer a daily priority.

Today’s gospel speaks of the importance of prayer. The apostles had been trying very hard to cast out a demon- but they had failed. When they asked why, Jesus said, “This kind can only come out through prayer.” The apostles had seemingly placed prayer on the back burner because they had been so preoccupied with their “work.” Ironically, their work suffered as a result.

We fall into the same trap, whenever we become so focused on getting the job done that prayer becomes an afterthought. When this happens, we might take a cue from Mother Teresa. As we all know, she could move mountains. But only because she was a woman of constant prayer.

“Because I cannot depend on my own strength,” she confessed, “I rely on him twenty-four hours a day. My secret is simple: I pray.”