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Pope Francis praises prayer

Wed 13 Jan 2016
By Hannah Tooley

Pope Francis has said that prayer prevents the hardening of the heart and makes a real difference to the lives of ordinary people.

He was speaking at Mass at the Casa Santa Marta and discussed how prayer had the ability to work miracles and soften the heart.

"It's the prayer of the faithful," he said "that brings change to the Church; it's not us popes, bishops or priests who carry the Church forward, but the Saints."

He told the story of Hannah, a woman who was distressed by her infertility and prayed to have a child.

The Pope went on to say how the priest thought Hannah was drunk as she was speaking to herself, but he could not hear her words: "Hannah was praying silently, her lips moved but her voice was not heard.

"Hers is the courage of a woman of faith who is weeping and grieving and asks the Lord for his grace.

"There are many good women in the Church, many! They place all their trust in prayer... Let us think of one of them, Saint Monica who was able, with her tears, to be granted the grace of conversion for her son, Saint Augustine. There are so many."

The head of the Catholic Church said he could understand why the priest made the judgement but that the priest did not understand her hurt.

He continued: "Sometimes, we pray, we ask things of God, but often we do not know how to engage with the Lord, to ask for grace."

The Pope also spoke about a man in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who had a young daughter dying in hospital and spent the night praying for healing.

The Holy Father claimed that the next day the daughter was healed: "Prayer works miracles; it works miracles for Christians, whether they be faithful laypeople, priests, bishops who have lost compassion.

"The prayers of the faithful change the Church: it's not us popes, bishops, priests or nuns who carry the Church forward, but Saints.

"Saints are those who dare to believe that God is the Lord and that He can do everything."

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