The power of prayers

By Archbishop William E. Lori
As people of faith, prayer is our business – or at least it should be our business. It is the way we communicate with God, our loving Father, and how we seek his guidance, mercy and blessing, for ourselves and for others. And while there are formal prayer ministries at the local level (in parishes, for example), there was none at the archdiocesan level, until recently.

Two years ago, we launched the Prayer Ministry of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, a simple way for people suffering in our archdiocese to seek the intercession of God, our Blessed Mother, and the saints to whom we turn in times of need, through the prayers of others. While we had received such requests for prayers from time-to-time in the past, we weren’t sure what to expect when we launched the prayer ministry on May 21, 2014, at noon. By 3 p.m. that day the first request arrived. Two years later, we receive up to 25 requests each day, through social media, the website or phone, from people seeking prayers for challenges ranging from sudden sickness, major disappointments or a painful loss.

In addition to receiving requests for prayer, we now have a team of more than 100 people who serve as prayer ministers, people who called us seeking prayer who now pray for the intentions of others. The prayer ministry has allowed the power of prayer to grow in our archdiocese by bringing together people from all walks of life and from all areas of our archdiocese, with a common goal of evoking divine aid for the suffering among us.

Many of the requests we receive each day come from those facing a serious illness such as cancer, heart disease and several other debilitating illnesses. Life for them becomes a series of doctor appointments, surgeries, treatments and medications. Not only is it frightening but sickness often causes them to lose their independence. Each day the requests are sent to our prayer ministers who pray and intercede for those in need in the way they most often pray. Some say the rosary, some the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, others pray their favorite prayers and Scriptures, and some just sit and talk with God in their own way.

Steve reached out seeking prayers for his wife, who had been taken to the emergency room with a high fever and was unresponsive. She was soon diagnosed with a brain abscess. She spent days in the hospital and her outlook was uncertain. Later, Steve wrote to thank the prayer team and to let them know of his wife’s full recovery: “The power of one prayer is immense. The power of thousands of prayers joined together is immeasurable!”

We also received a request from Cathy, who asked that we pray for her sister who was facing surgery and the possible loss of her leg. Unfortunately the leg had to be amputated and our team prayed for Cathy, her family and for her sister’s rehabilitation. Cathy, too, wrote with an update: “Even though the results were not as we had expected, the support of those praying for my family were very encouraging. Thanks for your prayers.”

I think of those who are suffering right now, whether from a health challenge or a loss of a job, marriage and family problems, or from an addiction of some kind. I often feel sorry for those who do not belong to a faith community, for they can’t know the feeling of being surrounded by those who love them enough to ask God’s blessing upon them, most especially when life is hardest.

Often we forget the power of prayer. May this ministry continue to grow and to harness God’s love for the good of the countless people in need of his grace and blessing in their lives. 

To contact the Prayer Ministry, visit, or call 410-547-5517.

Read more commentary from Archbishop Lori here.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.