What Is Prayer?
When we hear the word prayer, often we think of vocal prayer, using words either handed down to us burnished by the voices of generations or the words that spring up spontaneously from the heart. Prayer takes many forms, however, and all of them are means to seek God and respond to his love, for, “whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God’s thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him.” This encounter may well happen beyond words, with gestures or in silence.
The Power of Faith
The response to God’s thirst that touches Jesus, which he praises and which establishes a contact that seems to move him or even allow him to act, is faith. “To those who turn to him in faith, he grants what they ask.” In contrast, we find that little faith earns a reproach, and lack of it, mysteriously, seems at times to hinder Jesus’ action. Faith is the attitude Jesus awaits: it is what opens the door of our lives to his action and draws it down: “Prayer to Jesus is answered by him already during his ministry, through signs that anticipate the power of his death and Resurrection: Jesus hears the prayer of faith, expressed in words (the leper, Jairus, the Canaanite woman, the good thief) or in silence (the bearers of the paralytic, the woman with a hemorrhage who touches his clothes, the tears and ointment of the sinful woman).” Faith moves Jesus to act.