Tuesday, February 3, 2015


"Prayer arises, if at all, from incompetence. Otherwise there is no need for it."
--St. Therese of Lisieux

What possible place could the concept of a "prayer warrior" have in the teaching of Christ to go to your room and pray in secret, and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you?

He rewards us by allowing us to see our terrible flaws, weakness, hardness of heart in a new light. He rewards us by helping us to see that really what we want more than anything is to love, is to be kind and compassionate and charitable, and to see that on our own we're incapable of any of that.

"The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays."
--Soren Kierkegaard



  1. I hear you loud and clear! And I say so as a member of a prayer confraternity that does not balk at alluding to "angelic warfare." The concept of a Christian being a "prayer warrior" (noun juxtaposition syndrome) would've been unknown, or at least inexpressibly foreign, to Catholics of my grandparents' generation. They'd probably associate the phrase with that tactlessly emphatic wing of Protestantism where "fellowship" and "disciple" are used as verbs. But my grandparents would have had no problem asking St Michael to defend them in battle, or to pray many decades of the Holy Rosary for an urgent need.

    William Blake phrases it happily: "I will not cease from mental fight." In the spiritual life, there are enemies--usually some aspect of ourselves, but I don't discount the devils. Still, that phrase "prayer warrior" grates a little.

    St Michael Archangel, pray for us!

  2. Thank you Tom! My objection is to the idea that some people have special power to sway God, to get results, to "succeed" in prayer; the idea that some people are "better" prayers than others, which is utterly antithetical to the way Christ taught us to pray and to what we know of the way he prayed. "Father, if it by thy will, take this cup from me, but thy will not mine be done." The violence of our love and our longing doesn't manifest in loud, public, draw-attention-to-ourselves prayer, which is actually a form of self-idolatry. Don't babble on the streetcorners like the pagans, to to your room and pray in secret, go to a lonely place. The deeper and more violent our longing, the more aware of the epic cosmic battle between good and evil, the more we realize that by ourselves we are powerless. But with God all things are possible. In my experience the deeper your prayer, the quieter, not louder, you get. You become possibly less effective in a worldly sense, not more...

  3. This, and that last post - the interview with the freed soldier - are amazing. (I would submit that interview to Harper's pronto!) Cosmic implications here. Some things are just bad for your soul! And we need help to hear it. Angels, sometimes.

    1. Silly Anonymous! If this is your opinion, isn't the rational thing to do is shake the dust from your feet and silently move on?

  4. Exorcists are appropriately called prayer warriors. They bring Christ into enemy territory, they confront evil with the Church's prayer and authority, they engage in battle for souls, they are wounded. Our brothers and sisters who work in prisons, missionaries bringing the good news to dangerous places, those who quietly fast and do penance on behalf of others: all can appropriately and unsentimentally be called prayer warriors.

    I think the term is wonderfully descriptive of those who stand in the breech between light and dark.

  5. "'The violence of our love and our longing doesn't manifest in loud, public, draw-attention-to-ourselves prayer, which is actually a form of self-idolatry."

    Very well said. We are often simply praying to ourselves, aren't we?

  6. I've been thinking about your post, in conjunction with some personal situations of mine, and wondering why it is we do pray for others. I do believe that one desired effect of prayer is to change us so as to align ourselves with the will of God. But what about contemplative orders who spend hours a day in prayer for others? And we are told in different to pray for others as well. So I'm wondering, what if in addition to being called to be the physical hands and feet of Jesus in serving others, what if we are also called, by praying for the spiritual, physical and emotional healing and well-being of others, we are somehow helping God to send that healing? (Of course, He can do it on His own, just as He can change our stubborn wills on His own. ) I know there are a few studies out there that suggest that prayer for others really does effect healing. So what if we are asked to be "prayer warriors" not to change the mind of God, but to be His love in another way that we can't so easily measure. It's something I imagine greater minds than mine have struggled with, but it's a new thought for me, so I thank you!


I WELCOME your comments!!!