Radioclip en texto sin audio grabado.

“praying is not enough,” states jesus christ.

Alleluia! Glory to God! Alleluia!
And after praying?


RACHEL After savoring some very delicious fish from the Sea of Galilee, we are back with Jesus Christ, who hasn’t visited these places for some two thousand years. There are several topics we want to continue discussing with him. Are you ready, Jesus?

JESUS Ready. After a good meal, you can think a lot better.

RACHEL Can we return to the matter of miracles and prayers asking for miracles?

JESUS Sure thing, Rachel.

RACHEL Tell us, Jesus Christ, if God doesn’t work miracles, as you were explaining to us earlier, then what’s the use of praying and of asking God for health or for a job or to do well in an exam? Is prayer any use at all?

JESUS Rachel, prayer is something useless and also very useful. I remember one day here in Capernaum. Peter’s mother-in-law got very sick. There was no way to make her feel better, and so they were praying for her. Well, I went over to her bed and took her hand; I talked with her, told her some jokes, made her laugh, … and she got better. So much so that she got out of bed and even made us all supper. In fact, she prepared some fried fish like the ones we just ate.

RACHEL But … was she healed?

JESUS She was better for a few days. She was already quite old. She died soon. He time had come.

RACHEL But if her family was praying and you didn’t do any miracle to make her better, then why are you telling us this story?

JESUS So that you’ll understand that the purpose of prayer is not to ask for miracles, but to ask for strength. God doesn’t change the laws of nature to work miracles. He’s not going to change those laws for you, because of your prayers. God is just, and he’d have to change the laws for all his sons and daughters, even if they didn’t pray.

RACHEL And if I don’t get the miracle, why do I pray for strength?

JESUS So that you can hold your head high and stop being gloomy. So that you open up your heart and understand that life goes on. All that will invigorate you, and maybe even cure you.

RACHEL And if I’m not cured?

JESUS If you’re not cured, you won’t feel alone. You’ll know that God is with you, that he gives you his hand in bad times. That afternoon, with Peter’s mother-in-law I was God’s hand for her. I gave her the strength to get up. And afterwards, when she died, I also held her hand to the end. That’s what prayer is good for to make you feel accompanied, no matter what happens.

RACHEL Many people look for energy in charms, stones, holy cards, candles, relics, scapulars … What do you think of all that?

JESUS If it helps them… I’ve seen little kids who can get to sleep only when they’re holding onto a doll.

RACHEL And so, we shouldn’t ask God for anything? You used to ask for your daily bread.

JESUS I asked him for it, and I went out to look for it. Because praying is not enough. My mother always taught me that saying, “God helps those who help themselves.” And my father kept telling us, “Pray to God, but keep wielding the hammer.”

RACHEL One last question. They say that you used to pray in the mountains. Was that some mysterious invocation?

JESUS No, Rachel, there was no mystery there. Didn’t I already tell you, I was talking with God? Don’t you talk with your father and your mother about what’s going on in your life? Don’t you talk with your friends? If you’re sad and you tell somebody about it, then your sadness is divided in half. If you’re happy and you tell somebody about it, then your happiness is multiplied. Prayer also works that way.

RACHEL And you, friends in our listening audience, what do you think of all this? What’s your favorite charm? Or your favorite prayer? Remember to call us or visit our Web page. We’re always eager to hear your opinions and your questions. And so is Jesus Christ, but he won’t work any miracles for you! From Capernaum, this is Rachel Perez, Emisoras Latinas.


ANNOUNCER Another God is Possible. Exclusive interviews with Jesus Christ in his second coming to Earth. A production of María and José Ignacio López Vigil, with the support of the Syd Forum and Christian Aid.

*More information about this polemical topic…*

How Jesus prayed
Several times the gospels refer to Jesus’ custom of praying in isolated places in the silence of the night (e.g., Luke 5,16). His talking with God in this way, apart from the familiar rituals, must have impressed his contemporaries, and they must also have been surprised by the way he prayed for other people (Luke 22,31-32, John 14,15-16). In Israel it was not common practice for people to pray for others. Interceding for others was the role of the prophet, of the person who felt responsible for his people and concerned about their situation.
Moreover, in the prayers of the common people of Israel, God was seen as a distant monarch, and praying was a form of rendering homage to him. People therefore tended to pray with fixed solemn formulas that had been established by ancient traditions. For this reason the prayer that Jesus taught his followers, the Our Father, must have amazed them: in that prayer Jesus calls God “Abba” (papa, dad). In this way Jesus removed prayer from a sacred liturgical setting, where Jewish tradition had always placed it, and located it right at the center of daily life. Addressing God with such confidence and spontaneity must have seemed highly unusual to Jesus’ companions. In teaching the Our Father he was not so much providing a fixed formula to be repeated in prayer – he was proposing a complete new relationship with God, one of great confidence.

An interior attitude
Prayers do not bring results because God, Jesus, Mary or the angels and saints in heaven hear them, react benevolently, and decide to use their power to help the person praying. This is an archaic view of prayer which is found in all the world’s religions, but it is not the Christian vision – it is not what Jesus taught. Prayers can bring about results – consolation, encouragement, peace of mind, even the healing of some infirmity – not because they “convince” God that he should act, but because of the interior attitude they create in the person who prays: he recognizes his vulnerability; he humbly accepts his limitations, his fragility, his fears; he confesses his errors; he opens himself to forgiving others and changing his life; he decides to live life to the full, etc.

Medals and scapulars
Wearing crosses, medals or scapulars around one’s neck as an expression of religious sentiment is a deeply rooted tradition. The most popular scapular is that of the Virgin of Carmel, which according to tradition was given by the Virgin Mary to Simon Stock in London in 1251, with the promise that anyone dying while wearing this piece of cloth would not end up in hell.
One of the countless web pages on these kinds of devotions gives evidence of its superstitious character. It states that wearing medals or scapulars, or even a cross, around one’s neck provides “security” in two ways: one is prevented from “going to bad places”, and one is assured of divine protection, since these objects are visible signs that show the deity that “we are his fans.”
The somewhat arrogant nature of this “Christian” devotion is seen also when it is explained that people who wear “Santeria” necklaces, signs of the zodiac or other types of charms are actually honoring Satan and are committing a sin.

Pray to God …
Folk wisdom has traditionally produced maxims and refrains that express the need for us to “do our part” and not simply pray, expecting everything from God. A popular phrase to this effect in Spanish is Pray to God, but keep wielding the hammer. In English we have the more militaristic dictum: Keep praying, and pass the ammunition. The musical group Guaraguao sings: Praying is not enough; many things are needed to achieve true peace. And Ignatius Loyola used to say: Work as if everything depended on you, and trust as if everything depended on God. Finally, the theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer urged people to become personally and permanently responsible for the world they live in, as he expressed in his daring statement, To be a Christian is to live as if God did not exist.