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September 1996

In truth I tell you once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them. (Mt. 18: 19-20)

I consider this to be one of Jesus' most heartening words. There are so many needs in life, so many good and legitimate desires that you don't know how to fulfil, that cannot be met! You are deeply convinced that only action from Above, a grace from heaven, could grant what your whole being desires. Then, once more, you hear Jesus speak with splendid clarity and absolute certainty, full of hope and promise:

In truth I tell you once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all, it will be granted to you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them.

You will have read in the Gospel that Jesus exhorts people several times to pray and he teaches them how to obtain. But the word we are looking at today is quite different. For this prayer to obtain an answer from heaven more than one person is needed: a community is needed. It says "If two of you". Two. This is the smallest number that forms a community. Jesus is not concerned about how many there are, but that there should be more than one.

In the Jewish faith too, you will probably be aware, it is known that God welcomes the prayers of the group, but Jesus says something more: "If two of you... agree". He wants more than one person, and he wants them to be united. He stresses their unanimity. He wants them to be one voice.

Certainly they must agree about what to ask, but this asking must be founded on an agreement of heart. Practically speaking, Jesus affirms that the condition for obtaining what is asked is mutual love amongst people.

In truth I tell you once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all...

You might ask yourself: "But why is prayer in unity more acceptable to the Father?" The reason, perhaps, is because these prayers are more purified. Doesn't prayer so often get reduced to a series of requests that remind us more of beggars before a king than children with their father?

When, instead, we ask together with others it is certainly less tainted with personal interest. Being together with others we are more likely to be aware of their needs and share them. Furthermore, it is easier for two or three people to understand what they should ask the Father.

So, if we want our prayers to be answered it is better to do exactly what Jesus said:

In truth I tell you once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all...

Jesus himself tells us where the secret of this prayer's effectiveness lies. It is all in the words 'gathered in my name'. When we are united in this way, his presence is amongst us, and all that we ask with Him is more easily obtained. In fact, Jesus who is present where mutual love unites hearts, becomes the one who asks with us for graces from the Father. And can you imagine the Father not listening to Jesus? The Father and Christ are one.

Do you not think all this is marvellous? Does it not make you feel certain? Does it not give you confidence?

In truth I tell you once again, if two of you on earth agree to ask anything at all...

Now you will certainly want to know what Jesus wants you to ask. He himself says it clearly: 'anything'. There is no limit. So put this kind of prayer into the daily routine of your life. It could be that your family, you personally, your friends or the associations you belong to, your country or the world around you are short of countless things because you have not asked for them.

Agree with those who are dear to you, with those who understand you and share your ideals and, being ready to love one another as the Gospel commands, ask in unity. And ask for all that you want: ask during the liturgy; ask anywhere; ask before making decisions; ask for anything.

Above all do not let Jesus be disappointed by your carelessness, after he has given you this opportunity.

People will smile more, the sick will hope again, children will grow up in safety, there will be more harmony in families, it will be possible to face great problems even in the intimacy of the home. And you will be welcomed into Paradise, because prayers for those in need is one of the works of mercy that will be asked of us at the final exam.

Chiara Lubich

 

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