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A Bold Prayer for Faith

First Reading: 1 Peter 4:7-13

Beloved:
The end of all things is at hand.
Therefore be serious and sober-minded
so that you will be able to pray.
Above all, let your love for one another be intense,
because love covers a multitude of sins.
Be hospitable to one another without complaining.
As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another
as good stewards of God’s varied grace.
Whoever preaches, let it be with the words of God;
whoever serves, let it be with the strength that God supplies,
so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ,
to whom belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Beloved, do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you,
as if something strange were happening to you.
But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ,
so that when his glory is revealed
you may also rejoice exultantly.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 96:10, 11-12, 13

R. (13b) The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Say among the nations: The LORD is king.
He has made the world firm, not to be moved;
he governs the peoples with equity.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice;
let the sea and what fills it resound;
let the plains be joyful and all that is in them!
Then shall all the trees of the forest exult.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.
Before the LORD, for he comes;
for he comes to rule the earth.
He shall rule the world with justice
and the peoples with his constancy.
R. The Lord comes to judge the earth.

Gospel: Mark 11:11-26

Jesus entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area.
He looked around at everything and, since it was already late,
went out to Bethany with the Twelve.

The next day as they were leaving Bethany he was hungry.
Seeing from a distance a fig tree in leaf,
he went over to see if he could find anything on it.
When he reached it he found nothing but leaves;
it was not the time for figs.
And he said to it in reply, “May no one ever eat of your fruit again!”
And his disciples heard it.

They came to Jerusalem,
and on entering the temple area
he began to drive out those selling and buying there.
He overturned the tables of the money changers
and the seats of those who were selling doves.
He did not permit anyone to carry anything through the temple area.
Then he taught them saying, “Is it not written:

My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples?
But you have made it a den of thieves.”

The chief priests and the scribes came to hear of it
and were seeking a way to put him to death,
yet they feared him
because the whole crowd was astonished at his teaching.
When evening came, they went out of the city.

Early in the morning, as they were walking along,
they saw the fig tree withered to its roots.
Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look!
The fig tree that you cursed has withered.”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God.
Amen, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain,
‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’
and does not doubt in his heart
but believes that what he says will happen,
it shall be done for him.
Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer,
believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.
When you stand to pray,
forgive anyone against whom you have a grievance,
so that your heavenly Father may in turn
forgive you your transgressions.”

NAB

may 26

There is so much life wisdom packed into today’s readings! We could spend a month here, just in these words. Saint Peter exhorts us to be serious about our faith so that we can pray. And Jesus? Jesus wants us to believe God can move mountains. We are to be serious about our faith in order to pray and then, we are to pray bold things.

When was the last time you went boldly before the throne of grace and asked for something audacious? How many mountains have you wanted Him to move in your life? I’ve prayed for jobs, and houses, and health, and even for the miracle of a baby. Never has there been such a mountain to pray than when I get on my face and beg God to speak grace into the soul of one who has all but lost faith.

Peter wants us to be serious and sober-minded about our prayers, giving the utmost priority to our love for one another. Above all, that love for each other must be intense. There is nothing so intense, my friends, as a pitched battle for a soul. No prayers are more intense than those implored for someone we love who has been so beaten by the cares of this world and so battered by evil that he has lost his faith. To love him well is to cup hands around the barely lit flame he received at baptism and gently breathe the oxygen of prayer into its flickering.

Frankly, moving a mountain can seem rather simple when we compare it with the daunting task of praying a friend to a place of firm faith. It is a bold thing to stand in the long shadow of his doubt and remain unwavering in one’s own belief. It is an audacious act to sweep doubt from our hearts and believe that faith will be restored if only we pray the bold prayer that it be so.

It shall be done for him.

The Lord promises it will be so.

For whom will you pray a prayer that faith be restored today? Be bold. Ask audaciously.

photo credit

Elizabeth Foss is a wife, the mother of nine, and a grandmother. She finds the cacophony of big family imperfection to be the perfect place to learn to walk in the unforced rhythms of grace. You can learn more about her here

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