(Use the Power God Gave YOU to Change the World Through Prayer!)
Introduction to the Gift of Prayer with a Selection of Prayers of the Founder of Donum Veritatis – The Gift of Truth Ministries and The Institute for Promoting the Gift of Truth and Human Rights and Freedoms Forever!
(Links to prayers are below Introduction)
Prayer is conscious contact with God the source of all life, love, and power in the Universe. It is our greatest dignity and privilege as Christians to be able to pray. As members of the Church, the Body of Jesus Christ Himself, our prayers have real power to change the world for the better, and we must exercise this power. Prayer really changes the world both because of how prayer puts us in contact with the source of all power, which empowers us to change the world through our actions (small, everyday, and large) done in love for God (including the real action of more prayer, which demons fear), and because God our Loving Father, who holds infinite wisdom and power, hears and desires to grant the petitions of us, His adopted children, who are indwelt by His own Holy Spirit of Love, the “Spirit of Adoption” (Romans 8:15) given to us through the work of Jesus His Only-Begotten Son, whom the Father sent precisely so that we could receive His Holy Spirit and become His children also. God the Father sent God the Son to give us God the Holy Spirit, the “Spirit of Adoption” by which we are saved from being outside of God’s Family, and by which we are given power to effectively BE the Body of Christ reaching out with love to the world through our loving actions and in a very special and powerful way through our prayers, the prayers of His beloved children, which the all-powerful Father loves to grant.
My “theme verse” is “Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s Will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18), which I sometimes paraphrase simply as “rest and rejoice regardless.” Our prayers as we rest and rejoice in God’s constant loving Presence can, of course, be either spontaneous, the bubbling up and out of us what is on our hearts to speak to God about, or they can be (often traditional – discussed below) written or memorized prayers which guide our thoughts and petitions as we pray (such prayers can be modified spontaneously according to specific needs). For me, the following selection of prayers is both, for as I spontaneously prayed I wrote down after what seemed to be good things to pray about, and as I later prayed again the written prayers I added to and refined these prayers until they reached their current form. The following links take you to a selection of meditative prayers I have written over the years. There were times I prayed each of these prayers daily, and I still pray them all at least occasionally. I share them with the interested reader praying that God will lead you to use them in whatever fashion either helps you fall more in love with Him and/or helps empower you to use the prayer power God has placed within you to spread His Love in the world.
Without going into all the painful details, please note that the first three prayers in this collection, identifying with the Gospel call to “poverty in spirit” (radical dependence upon God day by day) and with the “test of the faith of the martyrs” came out of stages of my life (some still current at the time of writing) of real poverty and hardship and uncertainty which (because of how they made me feel unsafe in ways I had not felt in decades) unlocked previously buried painful memories of incidents of the tragedy of sexual abuse in my childhood; thus the joy of Jesus of which they speak (deeper than mere happiness which depends on outward circumstances) is not just some easy-to-say declaration of idealized faith but a testimony of the power of the Holy Trinity of Love to overcome any wound and human brokenness with Divine Grace, which is more than “sufficient for us in our weakness” (see 2 Corinthians 12:9); Uncreated Grace which is the very Life of the Divine Trinity of Love shared with us who despite our human weakness and brokenness become “partakers of the Divine Nature” (2 Peter 1:4). Thus I have a certain confidence that these prayers may be helpful and beneficial to Christians who, like me, are suffering in various ways, or who find themselves broken and unable to love and serve Jesus as they would like to. I remind all my brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus that God does not have any actually perfect servants; in one way or another we are all “broken vessels” who nevertheless carry within us the treasure of the indwelling Eternal Trinity of Self-Giving Love, which we are meant to share with those in the world who do not have this treasure. Thus we are all “wounded healers,” and our own brokenness and weakness and even sins in no way disqualify us from witnessing to, displaying and sharing the love of God the Father sent in Jesus His Son and His Holy Spirit to the world. Indeed, our own many shortcomings simply demonstrate that it is not because of ourselves that we have love and joy and hope, but because we indeed have contact with the True God, source of all love, life, and power in the universe. Our weakness is our testimony, because even through it the God of Eternal Divine Love shines through us dirty, broken vessels. It is because of this that the Apostle Paul could say, “therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Please note that although I wrote the two “Poor in Spirit” prayers which begin the collection in times of poverty and trial (still continuing at time of writing), they are designed to be just as applicable for a wealthy person (or a person enjoying a period of materially abundant blessing) to pray, since the “poor in spirit” Jesus refers to in Matthew 5:3 as already possessing the Kingdom of Heaven which “is” (not “will be”) theirs, have an attitude of poverty in spirit which is a radical dependence upon God in whom our security is unshakeable instead of dependence upon their external circumstances, whether they be good or bad (and which can change one moment to the next). This mature Christian attitude of poverty in spirit is as important for the materially rich as for the materially poor to be “blessed” with the Kingdom in the way Jesus declares in Matthew 5:3.
All of the below prayers come out of the context of my deep conviction that the Holy Trinity of Love rules the universe and thus indeed “all things work together for good for those who love God” (Romans 8:28) no matter how discouraging life in our fallen world can get. As an Early Church scholar, I am very aware of how the Early Church transformed the entire brutal ancient, pagan world with the love of Jesus and we can doubtless likewise transform our current “post-Christian,” secularized Western culture (and non-Christian cultures) with our prayers and with the witness of the overflowing Love of God which is always engendered in us when we become prayerful people. I encourage you to pray BIG prayers because we have a BIG God. Blaise Pascal noted that God wanted to give humanity the dignity of becoming causes, and this is why we pray. We are God’s “co-workers” (1 Corinthians 3:9) in the performance of His work on Earth. God the Father has chosen to work THROUGH the prayers of the Church, the Body of Christ His Son enlivened by His Holy Spirit as the soul (Latin: anima) animating that Body, so we members of the Church must not limit God’s action in the world by timid, mediocre, and limited prayers which declare how little faith we have in God’s power (and how little confidence we have in His loving desire to grant the requests of His beloved children). And do not get discouraged if you pray for big and important things and they do not happen anytime soon. The Devil will tempt you to stop praying since it seems to make no difference, but do NOT stop praying big prayers (which are in fact shaking the Devil’s occupation of God’s Earth which He made as a Family Home for His adopted human children). For perspective, remember the Israelites cried out to God for deliverance from bondage in Egypt for centuries before God sent Moses to lead them to the Promised Land. The Undivided Early Church indeed converted the brutal pagan Roman Empire, and later the barbarian tribes who toppled the Western Roman Empire, to saving faith in Jesus Christ, but this too took centuries of prayer and prayerful living Christian witness. So pray big prayers: for the things which you think will make a difference in your own life which God does indeed care about (trusting in His loving wisdom as to the timing and manner of His answers); and for the needs of others; and do not forget to pray for the needs of whole societies of people Jesus loves and died to save, for the great needs of the big world (such as for the just distribution of resources to end hunger; such as for the end of the “culture of death” which does not value the human life which God so greatly loves; such as for a reunified Church with a restored powerful witness of the Divine Love that overcomes all human barriers; for a Church that is thus empowered to re-baptize our “post-Christian” culture as the Undivided Early Church once baptized the pagan Roman and barbarian cultures through the power of its prayers and prayer-empowered witness). Knowing that Christians, who have intimate personal access to God the source of all power, love, and life in the universe through prayer are thus on the ultimately winning side of any spiritual battle (however long it takes), all of these below prayers also come out of the context of a greater vision for the Church and the world “so that the world may believe” (John 17:21) which I encourage the reader to explore; it is described on the CATCH THE VISION page of my Christian Unity in Diversity Central website for which by God’s Grace I have three times been invited to the Springtime of Faith Rome Summit, an annual Ecumenical Conference with Cardinals/Vatican officials such as Cardinal Francis Arinze, one of the last living Vatican II Council Fathers, who is Head of the Springtime of Faith Foundation International Episcopal Advisory Board (once I was even able, by God’s Grace, to attend the Summit, despite ongoing financial difficulties). Whether you come to habitually use any of these below meditative prayers of mine or not, the most important thing is that you come to exercise your power of prayer with the conscious awareness that because of who you are in Christ Jesus, your prayer before God your Father is life-changing for you and powerful in the world, whichever spontaneous or written prayers you pray, whichever of the rich variety of prayer devotion traditions within the Church you come to use or follow.
Regarding this rich variety of prayer devotion traditions in the Church, I note that as Jesus Christ (sent by His Father in order to give us His Holy Spirit) has saved the whole human person, body and soul, some very popular prayer forms involve the body and not just the mind in prayer through the physical use of prayer beads, such as the Rosary (that extremely popular series of meditations upon 20 mysteries related to the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ), the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and the Jesus Prayer (also known as “the Prayer of the Heart,” the popular Eastern Christian devotion on the name of Jesus,4 which can involve soothing rhythmic breathing as an additional element of “the body at prayer;” this is sometimes called in the West “the Byzantine [or Russian] Rosary”). I encourage those who have not tried these particular prayer forms to do so as part of your “adventures in prayer” which I hope this booklet will motivate you to engage in (classic Protestant author Catherine Marshall has a book entitled Adventures in Prayer which I also recommend for different deep and fruitful ways to guide your prayer adventures in your growing prayer relationship with God). The Liturgy of the Hours (also known as the Breviary or the Divine Office, or simply as Christian Prayer), in its Eastern and Western forms, as the official formal daily prayer of the Christian Church since ancient times (its primary Morning Prayer [Matins] and Evening Prayer [Vespers] developed from the original Jewish Christians’ practice of praying during the daily Morning and Evening sacrifices at the Temple), has the advantage of being a “corporate” prayer in which one is joining in prayer (incorporating Bible readings) with many Christian brothers and sisters (including all ordained priests, and monks and nuns) who daily pray it all over the world.
“Praying the Scriptures,” a particularly prayerful reading of God’s Love Letter to us His adopted children in the Bible, has become more popular among Protestant/Evangelical Christians in recent years, and this practice is essentially the same as the ancient Catholic Christian practice (with a Latin title!) of Lectio Divina, “Sacred Reading,” which is similarly undergoing a revival in recent years. Incorporating the Bible somehow in one’s prayer life (through Lectio Divina or other means) is important. Since ancient times the Christian Church’s worship always included both a “Liturgy of the Word” and a “Liturgy of the Eucharist.” The Christian people who transformed the brutal ancient pagan world with God’s Love in the First Millennium were fed spiritually, their prayers and their prayerful living witness were empowered, by both the Bible, which the Early Church Fathers saturated themselves with, and by Holy Communion with Jesus in the Eucharist as the central part of a rich sacramental life. Today’s Protestant Christians have generally better kept up the ancient Christian love of Bible reading, while today’s Catholic and Orthodox Christians have better kept up the ancient rich Christian liturgical and sacramental life. Both are important for Christians to receive the full Divine Grace and Wisdom needed to fully empower their prayer life. See Appendix I: Channels of Grace To Empower Us for Prayer and Prayerful Loving Action “So That the World May Believe” – The Bible and the Sacraments (Learn to “Get the Most Out Of Reading Your Bible” or even “Revolutionize Your Bible Reading” with Covenant Family Theology).
As you practice using the prayer power that God gave YOU as a beloved child of His through your adoptive baptism into His Family the Church, please consider praying, weekly (perhaps Sundays) or daily (as The LORD inspires you), this brief prayer which utilizes YOUR PRAYER POWER in support of the ministry I founded which publishes this collection:
Lord, I pray for the success of Donum Veritatis – The Gift of Truth Ministries and The Institute for Promoting the Gift of Truth and for the accomplishment of their goals towards building Your Family the Church and building Your Kingdom in the World.
I ask this simply because of the reality that no Christian ministry can be effective unless it is a movement of the Body of Christ, and not just of one founder. Thus the ministry I founded needs your prayer power. Those who choose to pray for this ministry truly become partners in this Christian ministry simply because – I will say it again – your prayers are powerful just because of who you are in Jesus Christ, as members of His Body, and as beloved adopted children of His Father who loves to spend time with His children, the Father of Love who holds all things in His hands and who loves to grant the petitions of His beloved children.
May God bless you as you develop your prayer power by using it. May God guide you in all your adventures in prayer!
– Peter William John Baptiste SFO
Founder, Donum Veritatis – The Gift of Truth Ministries and The Institute for Promoting the Gift of Truth
A Selection of Prayers of the Founder
Meditation on The Three Stages of The Test of the Faith of the Martyrs (for most Christians Who Grow in Christian Maturity through “Martyrdom on the Installment Plan” instead of the Direct Test of the Martyrs Threatening Death for their Faith)
Ecumenical ‘Consecration to Jesus Through Mary’ : The “Crown” of the Catholic Church’s Marian Devotion in a Theologically Precise and Ecumenically Sensitive Format Which Should Be Unoffensive to Protestant Christians and Which May Draw Them (and Catholic Christians) Deeper into the Holy Mysteries of the Trinity, the Incarnation, and the Body of Christ the Church Through its Recognition of Mary’s Particular Role in the Whole Body of Christ and Kingdom of God of Which All Christians Are a Part
Prayer for Worthy Christian Ministries, Incorporating a Brief Review of Salvation History to the Present Moment Where YOUR Prayers Greatly Assist the Building of God’s Family and the Coming of His Kingdom
Appendix I: Channels of Grace To Empower Us for Prayer and Prayerful Loving Action “So That the World May Believe” – The Bible and the Sacraments (Learn to “Get the Most Out Of Reading Your Bible” or even “Revolutionize Your Bible Reading” with Covenant Family Theology)
Appendix II: Ecumenical Meditation on ‘The Common Creed of Christianity’
Again, please consider praying, weekly (perhaps Sundays) or daily (as The LORD inspires you), this brief prayer which utilizes YOUR PRAYER POWER in support of this ministry:
“Lord, I pray for the success of Donum Veritatis – The Gift of Truth Ministries and The Institute for Promoting the Gift of Truth and for the accomplishment of their goals towards building Your Family the Church and building Your Kingdom in the World.”
Pray! Internet Edition 1.0 © 2012, 2013 William Baptiste SFO
Published March 25, 2013, The Feast of the Annunciation
9 months before Christmas, wherein the victory and salvation of God over sin finalized at Easter was first announced by Gabriel to Mary, and where this victory was first effected by the Incarnation of God in Jesus Christ in Mary’s womb (after her consenting to her role in this announcement), since the Incarnation itself first united our human nature to the Divine in the Person of Jesus Christ.