This text appears in the internal magazine UNITAS 2020 of the Swiss Governorship of the Order of Knights of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem (Order abbreviation OESSH) as an editorial and is printed here in an amended and translated form.
Praying in the present time
The spread of the corona virus has turned many of us upside down. Some had to realize that the self-evident is not so obvious. Some became humble and the supposedly normal already fills them with gratitude. In addition, many of them make the positive experience that they are not alone despite the restriction of social contacts. It is not the relationships themselves that have changed in these times, but above all the way of communicating as a lived relationship. Think not only of the numerous telephone and video conferences in the business sector, but also in the family sector technology has entered the scene as a support for communication. Many families now have internal communication channels (picture/sound) on their mobile phone or computer. Many of them are using modern means of communication more and more as a matter of course, across generations. Communication with God has also been changed during the crisis. But what remains unchanged: We may turn to him at any time with full confidence. The means of communication with God is as varied as it is simple: prayer is the conversation with God, sometimes “only” the dwelling in God’s face
There are roughly classified four forms of prayer: worship, repentance, supplication and thanksgiving. A prayer can be spontaneous or formalized. A prayer can be very personal or can be prayed in community. To pray in community means to participate in services, especially Holy Mass and the other sacraments. Many also find spiritual strength and nourishment in the prayer of the hours, the Lord’s Prayer or the Rosary. In short, daily prayer is as important for our soul as daily bread is for the body. Certainly prayer is not the only means of spiritual growth, but it is undoubtedly a very important form of encounter with God. God contributes to this growth with his all-embracing grace. But God needs us as active interlocutors so that his grace can also be effective in us.
Especially in times of crisis we often have the feeling that the channel of communication with God is limited. According to Max Frisch (1911-1991), however, a crisis is also a productive state and not just a catastrophe. In every crisis we look for answers and at the same time we often feel in faith-based (self-)quarantine. Here Matthew 6:6 is supposed to strengthen us and lead us out of the catastrophe: “But when you pray, go into your closet and close the door, and pray to your Father in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you publicly. And Mark 11:24: “Therefore I say to you All that you ask in your prayer, believe only that you will receive it, and it will be granted you”.
So we do not only knock digitally in video conferences and wait for an answer, we can also knock on God’s door with prayer and ask for help (Luke 11:9) and it will be opened to us. Even more optimistic Jeremiah 29:12: “And you will call on me and go and ask me, and I will hear you”. Learn to expect an answer. God reveals Himself as His own reality in the form of a living and active God. Take him by his word!