Praying with Power
St Francis in Prayer (National Gallery, London)

Praying with Power

There are many times that we think we are powerless. We believe we need to endure what is happening to us and we don’t have the ability to protect ourselves. This couldn’t be further from the truth! When Jesus was ready to ascend into heaven, He had specific words and orders to His disciples, which are applied to us today!

Acts 1:8 “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.”

The word “power” is translated in Greek as “dynamite.” This is not regular power but spiritual dynamite! For most of us this is not something that we understand.  It is important to understand that we are not meant to be defenseless but to have the power of our Lord Jesus Christ:

1 Corinthians 4:20 “The kingdom of God does not consist of talk but of power.”

How is that power manifested? The power comes through us as a result of receiving the Holy Spirit at our Baptism. We were anointed with sacred chrism on the crown of our head at Baptism to be “Priest, Prophet and King.” As a result of the Holy Spirit’s anointing we have the grace to do what Jesus did and more:

John 14:12-14 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I go to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son, if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”

It is normal Christianity to pray with power. It is what we are called to do on a routine basis. There are seven steps to help us pray with power.

1.  Be filled with the Holy Spirit! One of my favorite stories is regarding a seven year old girl that approached me on a Sunday at the SCRC Charismatic Renewal convention. I had prayed over her the day before for the release of the Holy Spirit in her life. She was excited and was with her mother. Her mother told me, “My daughter was so excited she could barely sleep. She has a question to ask you.” I said, “great.” The little girl looked up at me with big eyes and said, “Deacon, did I receive the Holy Spirit at Baptism?” I was impressed and said an emphatic “yes!” She then asked the most important question I have heard in over 40 years of ministry. She looked at me and emphatically said, “Deacon, if I received the Holy Spirit at Baptism, why is He hiding?” 

Wow! Does that say it all? Think about what happened with the Apostles. They were hiding in the upper room and afraid. They thought they were going to be crucified next. Suddenly everything changed. The Holy Spirit appeared as “tongues of fire” and suddenly they threw open the doors and over 3,000 were saved that day. When the Holy Spirit is released in you, you have the power of God to preach, have faith and not be afraid of anything! How do we get it? We ask!

Luke 11:13 “If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

As the Scripture tells us, when we ask we will receive, seek and we will find, knock and the door will be opened. The Father will give us the gifts of the Holy Spirit if we seek Him, want Him and ask for Him!

2. Ask for the veil to be removed from your eyes. Do you remember a situation where you suddenly understand something that has been a mystery up to that point? That is exactly what happens when you ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 “But when a man turns to the Lord the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being changed into his likeness from one degree of glory to another; for this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”

When the Holy Spirit comes upon us everything changes. We understand our purpose and what we are to do with our lives!

3. Pray in the Spirit at every opportunity. In this time of many challenges we cannot afford not to have every blessing that God has prepared for us. Jesus was very clear to us that it “was better that I go,” so that the Holy Spirit will come to us. We have been told that the Holy Spirit will lead us to every truth. One of the most important truths is that we can’t pray in power without the Holy Spirit.

Romans 8:26-27 “Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with signs too deep for words. And he who searches the hearts of men knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”

It is important that we learn to pray in the power of the Holy Spirit. In order to do that, make sure that all your prayers to the Father include the phrase, “through the power of the Holy Spirit” and then end the prayer “in the name of Jesus.”

4.  We need to live out our Baptism. To pray in the power of the Holy Spirit, we need to recognize our anointing to be “priest, prophet and king.” We are called to make a difference. To bring others to Christ. That is the purpose of our Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and it is our purpose in life.

Matthew 9:37-38 “Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few, pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.’”

Instead of watching television and worrying about the future, be proactive and live out your purpose of bringing souls to Christ! Most of you, I’m sure, are going to think that you don’t have a clue of how to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with those in your life, especially in this time of isolation.

 Here are some ideas: share with your immediate family why your faith is so important to you. Write emails to people supporting and loving them and telling them to have hope and faith in Christ. Put messages on the telephone, internet, Facebook, Instagram and other types of media telling them faith and miracle stories. These are just a few of the many things you can do to make a difference. The reality is that if you want to be used you will be used. The Holy Spirit will tell you what to do. You need just to say “yes” and be open to the flood of ideas from the Holy Spirit.

5. Build a spirit-filled community. Can’t meet with people? Think creatively! I have led a men’s Scripture group on Friday mornings for over 40 years at 7 a.m., lasting for an hour and 15 minutes. For the first time in history, with the exception of Christmas, we couldn’t meet in person. Rather than having no meeting, we decided to have the teaching and discussion on a conference call. Twelve men called in and thanked me profusely for not giving up and not having the meeting!

Acts 2:42 “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”

There are many other things you can do on the phone and internet. Think about praying together, doing the rosary, having a Bible sharing, or just talking about how God is giving strength in this challenging time.

6. Be open to receive the fruit of the Holy Spirit. We can’t live the life that we are called to live without the fruit of the Spirit:

Galatians 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law.”

We live a life of abundance when we pray and ask for the fruit of the Holy Spirit to take over our lives and give us this special grace. When we are united with Jesus and let the Holy Spirit control our actions, we receive love, joy and peace like we have never experienced!

7. Let forgiveness be at the center of your prayer. We need to ask for forgiveness for our rebellion against God and the sins we have committed. It is important to forgive ourselves for our weakness. It is also critical that we forgive others in the same way that God has forgiven us. Search your hearts and ask the Lord to reveal to you how to forgive with God’s grace. It is critical so that your prayers will not be hindered.

Mark 11:25 “And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.”

Praying with and in the Spirit of God will transform your life into a life of power!

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Written by
Deacon Steve Greco