Examples of the Power of Prayer

Father Girardey notes that “both the Old and the New Testaments are full of examples of the efficacy, of the unlimited power of prayer.” Here are some examples:

“Josue, who led the Israelites in the conquest of the Promised Land, seeing on one occasion that the day was too short to enable the Israelites to reap the fruits of their victory, prayed to God and commanded the sun, which was about to set, to stand still; and the sun obeyed and remained above the horizon, and did not set until the victory was complete.”

“Whilst Josue was with the army giving battle, Moses was praying on a neighboring hill for the success of the Israelites; “and when Moses lifted up his hands (to heaven), Israel overcame; but if he let them down a little (slackened in his prayer), Amalec overcame.”

“David had committed two great crimes and thereby given great scandal to the whole nation. When he had been made aware of the extent of his guilt, he repented most sincerely and earnestly and bitterly implored the mercy of God, and obtained forgiveness.”

“At Jonas’ preaching the Ninevites did penance and prayed God for mercy, and thereby escaped destruction. Judith by her prayer obtained the opportunity and the courage to save her city Bethulia from capture and destruction. It was by prayer that the three heroic young men cast into a glowing furnace at Babylon were wonderfully saved from being burned to death, that Tobias and Sara were freed from their misfortunes, that Esther obtained the safety of her people, that Daniel remained unhurt in the lions’ den, and that the chaste Susanna obtained the proof of her innocence and thus saved both her reputation and her life.”

“In the New Testament the proofs of the boundless power of prayer are almost countless, especially in the cures Jesus Christ effected in answer to prayer.”

“In the Acts of the Apostles we read that St. Peter was on the eve of being put to death for the faith, but was miraculously freed from prison and death by an angel, for the whole Church was praying for his deliverance.”

“The first conversion among the pagans to the Christian religion was that of the centurion Cornelius and his household, as the angel told him; it was in answer to his prayers and alms-deeds.”

Quotations from Ferreol Girardey, Prayer: Its Necessity, Its Power, Its Conditions (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1916).

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