We’ve all sent up a desperate prayer in a tense moment, but it’s easy to forget about praying when life is going swimmingly.
Yet we know there are so many benefits to building a habit of prayer, the most important being entering into friendship with God.
If you’ve ever wondered why a habit of prayer is worth building, check out a powerful new video series from Dr. Edward Sri and Ascension Press, When You Pray: A Clear Path to a Deeper Relationship with God.
Dr. Edward Sri is a theologian, author and well-known Catholic speaker who appears regularly on EWTN. He has written several best-selling books, and his newest book, When You Pray: Trust, Surrender, and the Transformation of Your Soul, accompanies the series of seven 30-minute videos.
The series would be perfect to do with a group of friends or a parish study group. You can get a free preview that includes the first video, first session workbook info, a bonus video, and the first few chapters of the book.
Dr. Sri shared how prayer actually heals and changes souls, drawing inspiration from saints’ writings.
Prayers brings healing and transformation
“God doesn’t just want to forgive us,” Sri explained in an interview with Aleteia. He wants to get to the roots of our sins and heal us.”
God brings healing to the whole person through habitual prayer. This healing brings a freedom like nothing else. Dr. Sri said:
He loves us so much he wants us to heal us at the deepest levels so that we are not always combating our sinful desires, misguided emotions and many false stories we tell ourselves. He wants us to experience a deeper freedom that comes when we are healed of our many sins, weaknesses, bad habits and wounds from our past.
A vivid way to picture how prayer changes the soul is to think of how fire changes metal, as in an old-time blacksmith’s forge. Sri explained:
When you put an iron rod in fire, the rod changes. It becomes hot. It becomes orange or red. It might begin to emit smoke. In other words, it starts taking on the characteristics of fire.
Similarly, as we draw nearer to Christ in our interior lives, we begin to take on his characteristics. We begin to love as he loves, serves as he serves, forgive as he forgives.
Through daily prayer, we are “being changed in his likeness from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18).
The video series goes in detail into this healing transformation of the soul, drawing deeply from the writings of St. John of the Cross.
The saints know your struggle
Why is it so helpful to learn about prayer through the saints? Dr. Sri explained that it’s because the saints understand exactly what we are going through.
“Sometimes Catholics can be intimidated by the saints, thinking of them as spiritual superheroes who did amazing things like stay up all night in prayer, levitate during Mass or bilocate,” he said.
But the problem is that this way of thinking makes the saints seem so intimidating, when actually they struggled just like we do.
“The saints struggled in prayer, faced complex problems, battled against temptations and even made mistakes,” Sri explained. “Yet, each time they fell, they repented, got up again, and learned ever more to rely on God and not themselves. And they were changed.”
This transformation comes through prayer, and it’s accessible to all of us. The pathway to holiness is open to every last person walking the earth.
“What God did in the saints, he wants to do in ordinary Christians like you and me,” Sri said.
The series was filmed in the places where the great saints lived, taught, prayed and died. Seeing these physical places helps viewers understand how real and human the saints are.
“They were real men and women, with real struggles in life, who really encountered God, and were really transformed by his grace.”
And so can we all be, with God’s good help and grace.