“He spent the night in prayer to God.”

Today’s gospel reading (Lk 6:12-19) finds Jesus going to a mountain to pray and He keeps at it throughout the night.  At daybreak He calls the disciples and chooses from them the twelve apostles.  They all come down the mountain where a great crowd from far and wide come to hear Jesus teach, be healed of disease, and be exorcised.  They sought to touch Him so that His power would heal them, and it did heal them all.  Jesus prayed often, but it is before momentous occasions (as He prepared for public ministry [Mt 4:1-11], before His passion and death [Mt 26:38-44], and today’s recounting of His choosing Apostles) that we hear of lengthy conversations He had with His Father.  This is a call to us to imitate Christ.  Of course, we should pray regularly (Jesus did this too; see, for example, Lk 5:15-16) that our lives be conformed to Christ and that we represent Him well every day in every circumstance.  But when big events are approaching (e.g., a wedding, a new job or vocation, a big move) or difficult challenges lie ahead or have already begun (e.g., loss of work, major illness, death of a loved one) we should turn to extended and more frequent prayer for help, understanding, consolation.  Extended time in front of the Blessed Sacrament, a weekend or full week’s retreat if possible, immersion in Scripture and spiritual reading, and praying through the night if illness or worry cause insomnia are all ways to draw ourselves closer to God, to unite ourselves with Him, to offer everything we are and everything we have to Him (Remember: All good things come from God, anyway).  Jesus knew the power of prayer.  He wants us to know it as well.  And He is always available to listen to us and comfort us.

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