Cromey Online

The writings of author, therapist, and priest Robert Warren Cromey.

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Does Prayer Work?

I just got back from a round trip flight, San Francisco to Boston on United Airlines. I prayed as we taxied to the runway.

I pray without ceasing – “Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy upon me a sinner.”  This is the Jesus Prayer. I pray this when taking off and then again when landing. I like the simple repetition. It is a prayer of praise and a request for forgiveness.

The most dangerous part of the flying is when I get in a cab to get home from the airport.

I pray on waking and on going to sleep. I give thanks for the beginning of a new day. I give thanks for a quiet night. I pray, “Thank you Jesus” for my wife Ann and daughters Leigh, Sarah and Jessica, my grandchildren and my family.

Prayer works best for those who believe God answers prayer. We believe God answers our prayer with a yes or a no. If a child prays for a new doll for Christmas, the answer may be no. “Thy will be done.” If there are 200 people on a plane, many will pray for a safe flight. If the plane goes down, perhaps God’s answer is No. If the plane lands safely, God’s answer is yes.

God does not play favorites, he loves ands forgives: the United State States, Isis, Islam, Arabs, Christians, Jews and those who follow voodoo. God loves, forgives and the good and the evil. We work to bring justice to all people. Yes there is punishment for people who hate, those on all sides.

A Franciscan brother and I talked about my failure to meditate. He said simply, "Pray the way you can, Robert, not the way you can’t."

Many get great benefit from meditation. I do not. Some make prayer lists and regularly pray for those on the list. Focusing on a collection of photographs of people is a fine way to pray.

Prayer is a place to put our deepest fears and worries. On 9/11 people came to churches to pray – to put their worst fears and anxieties. Pray to God for safety.

Prayer does not work on God, prayer works on us.
I have had several surgeries over the years. It gives me strength, courage and peace to know that many people from our parish and among our friends hold me in their prayers. Those prayers work to sustain me. Those prayers motivate me to help and cheer me. God’ will answer the prayer. “Thy will be done.”

Pray for the sick
            Pray for the hungry
            Pray for the homeless
            Pray to end Police brutality
            Pray for the police
            Pray for the end to war.
And then work on healing, hungry, homeless, police
Peace. Prayer is not enough for those of us who say we love Jesus.

An Arab medic was helping ISIS soldiers who had been captured. Sadiq said to the prisoner, “You killed my friend and I bring you food. I saw my friend beheaded on video. I bring you food. The Isis soldier says, “I have a wife and three daughters. I want to talk with then on the phone. The medic says, you killed my friend and I bring you food.

The good news of the Gospel of Jesus is that we are called to pray for our enemies and our loved ones. What God does with our prayers is God’s business. Our prayers inspire us to do all we can for our beloved ones, our enemies and those in need.