“I want to instruct you on how you are to rescue souls through sacrifice and prayer. You will save more souls through prayer and suffering than will a missionary through his teachings and sermons alone.. great will be your power for whomever you intercede. Outwardly, your sacrifice must look like this: silent, hidden, permeated with love, imbued with prayer.” – Diary of Saint Faustina, para.1767
These words of the Merciful Jesus to Saint Faustina, recorded in her Diary, are nothing less than a masterclass on the power of prayer on behalf of souls. The Lord makes it clear in what that power consists – it is the power to save souls.
He also promises that such prayer will carry great weight and will achieve what it is designed to do. And it must be important – He specifically asks (repeatedly throughout the Diary) for prayer on behalf of souls.
Lastly, He tells us, through the Saint, what our prayerful sacrifice must be like – silent and hidden from the world, filled with love of Him and of souls, and overflowing with the constancy of prayer.
For many of us, we reduce our prayer down to a more basic level – how often do we pray for ‘things’? These things might be help in a particular situation, or to get something we want or need, or for some other thing which is transitory and – perhaps – of less real value than we might think.
Our prayers could be for so much more than this.
Every single one of us has the ability to pray. What we need is the will to do so. And it is in engaging the will that true love begins to come into effect – we make a choice for God and for souls, rather than for self; and this is greatly pleasing to the Lord. We deny ourselves for love of the Lord. Or as He once put it, we take up our cross and follow after Him.
The more we pray, the more we begin to love prayer. Prayer becomes a habit – not the sort of unthinking habit we might develop with worldly things, but a devoted and deliberate habit, making that choice for the Lord over and over; remember, we are asked to carry that cross ‘all the days of our lives’. It then becomes that continual prayer of which the Gospel speaks.
One of the great things about prayer is that we can offer it anywhere – in the street, sitting quietly at home, in Church, during our manual occupations and throughout all the little tasks that make up daily life. And in this way, we begin to sanctify our daily lives and our daily duty, making them holy in the eyes of the Lord, because we are uniting ourselves to Him throughout it all.
Prayer opens our heart to the Love of His own Heart – that really changes things, and it powerfully transforms us.
In this life, many things are veiled to us – and the effects of our prayers will often be hidden in this manner. But one day, we will be permitted to see what our prayers have achieved – for ourselves and for others. And on that day, how happy we will be that we have become people of prayer.