Prayer comes first in Medjugorje. In the daily life or the parishioners and pilgrims – and in the Virgin Mary’s messages. “Pray” is the word she has most often used, “prayer” is also high on the list.
Prayer is the primary means of obtaining and nourishing a personal relationship with God. And the Virgin Mary’s apparitions in Medjugorje are all about leading still more people, one at a time, to have such a personal relationship with God.
This is why the Virgin Mary talks so much about prayer. And this is why she even referred to prayer as a basic need, alongside everything that human beings usually recognize as such:
“Little children, without prayer you cannot live and say that you are mine. Prayer is joy. Prayer is what the human heart desires. Therefore, get closer, little children, to my Immaculate Heart and you will discover God.” (November 25th 1994)
Indeed, the Virgin Mary has even talked about prayer as a life-or-death matter. Each human soul needs prayer to survive eternally, to live and rejoice in God’s glory forever. Yet while eternity is clearly the primary scope of the Virgin Mary’s words, they are full of earthly meaning, too:
“Dear children! Today I invite you to respond to my call to prayer. I desire, dear children, that during this time you find a corner for personal prayer. I desire to lead you towards prayer with the heart. Only in this way will you comprehend that your life is empty without prayer. You will discover the meaning of your life when you discover God in prayer. That is why, little children: Open the door of your heart and you will comprehend that prayer is joy without which you cannot live. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (July 25th 1997)
In few other messages does the Virgin Mary draw up the line as clearly as here: Wihout prayer, “life is empty”. Without prayer, “you cannot live”. Whereas with prayer, “you will discover the meaning of your life”. This is the choice that she presents us with.
The fruits of prayer
In perservering in her calls to prayer, the Virgin Mary has likewise perservered in pointing out the fruits of prayer: Joy, protection, peace, rest, love of God and fellow man, fearlessness, and awareness of the truth are among them. Potentially, even miracles are. The Virgin has also explained why these graces are being lavished upon everyone who gets into a practice of prayer. This she did by presenting things from the perspective of God:
“Dear children, once again I desire to call you to prayer. When you pray, you are much more beautiful, like flowers which, after the snow, show all their beauty and all their colors become indescribable. So also you, dear children, after prayer show more before God all that is beautiful to please Him. Therefore, dear children, pray and open your inner self to the Lord so that He makes of you a harmonious and beautiful flower for Paradise. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (December 18th 1986)
Joy is the common response when people experience the loving action of God in their lives. This is why the Virgin Mary, quite oftentimes, has talked about the connection of prayer and joy.
“Dear children, I beseech you to open yourselves and begin to pray. Prayer will be your joy. If you make a start, it will not be boring to you because you will be praying out of joy.” (March 20th 1986)
“Pray, and then you shall overcome even every weariness. Prayer will be your joy and your rest.” (May 30th 1985)
Prayer necessary for peace
Another fruit of prayer is peace in the heart. God is peace, the Virgin Mary came to Medjugorje as the Queen of Peace, and out of Medjugorje has grown an oasis of peace. Millions of pilgrims have returned as apostles of peace. The demonstration of the peace of God stands out as a primary purpose of Medjugorje, just like previous apparitions of Mary had specific and declared purposes. And so, in several messaages from Medjugorje, the Virgin Mary has conncected prayer to peace:
“By means of prayer, little children, you will obtain joy and peace. Through prayer you are richer in the mercy of God. Therefore, little children, let prayer be the light for each one of you.” (August 25th 1989)
“If there is no peace, pray and you will receive it.” (October 25th 2001)
Whereas, many years before, the Virgin Mary also said:
“Without prayer there is no peace.” (September 6th 1984)
Another choice very clearly outlined by the Virgin: Prayer or no prayer? Peace or no peace? No wonder, by now, that the Virgin Mary also said:
“Decide, my children, it is the time of decision.” (March 18th 1996)
Prayer and the supernatural
Because God is supernatural and able to do exactly as He likes, a meeting with God through prayer is a meeting with the whole supernatural nature of God. In an individual life, this can manifest in a mulititude of ways, the limits being what is commonly known as miracles:
“Little children, believe that by simple prayer miracles can be worked. Through your prayer you open your heart to God and He works miracles in your life.” (October 25th 2002)
“In prayer you shall receive the greatest joy and the way out of every situation that has no exit.” (March 28th 1985)
While some miracles such as sudden physical healings manifest openly, a greater number are experienced inwardly only. None the less it is the same supernatural presence of God that works the obvious healing miracles and ‘the hidden miracles’ within. Like infusing the soul with the love of God and a longing for eternal life in Heaven, a longing born from receiving God’s gift of Truth. This is the promise of the Virgin Mary:
“Dear children! Also today I call you to pray, pray, pray. Only in prayer will you be near to me and my Son and you will see how short this life is. In your heart a desire for Heaven will be born. Joy will begin to rule in your heart and prayer will begin to flow like a river. In your words there will only be thanksgiving to God for having created you and the desire for holiness will become a reality for you. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (August 25th 2006)
Along with such an encounter with God comes freedom from fear, supernatural and a God-given gift. Man cannot infuse himself with the healthy, holy sort of fearlessness promised by the Virgin as one more fruit of prayer. At a time of widespread fear throughout the planet, she said:
“Do not be afraid because the one who prays is not afraid of evil and has no hatred in the heart.” (September 25th 2001)
Eight months earlier the Virgin Mary had struck the same chord, though in a broader sense. In renewing her call to join prayer with fasting, she said:
“Dear children! Today I call you to renew prayer and fasting with even greater enthusiasm until prayer becomes a joy for you. Little children, the one who prays is not afraid of the future and the one who fasts is not afraid of evil. Once again, I repeat to you: only through prayer and fasting also wars can be stopped – wars of your unbelief and fear for the future. I am with you and am teaching you, little children: your peace and hope are in God. That is why draw closer to God and put Him in the first place in your life. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (January 25th 2001)
Prayer as a spiritual weapon
In other messages, too, the Virgin Mary has focused on prayer as an indispensible weapon in the spiritual battle over souls that she announced in Medjugorje on August 2nd 1981 (“A major battle is about to unfold – a battle between my Son and Satan. Human souls are at stake” was the Virgin’s words on that occasion).
This is first of all true of the prayer of the Rosary – dating centuries back and ever since praised by Saints, Popes and common people alike. All have they noticed how the Rosary nurtures a healthy relationship with God and with the Virgin Mary, how it nourishes virtue, and how it helps in uprooting vice and sin, indeed: how it helps in uprooting all things evil.
In Medjugorje, too, the Virgin Mary has talked about the Rosary as a powerful weapon and tool of protection:
“Dear children, today I call you especially now to advance against Satan by means of prayer. Satan wants to work still more now that you know he is at work. Dear children, put on the armor for battle and with the Rosary in your hand, defeat him! Thank you for having responded to my call.” (August 8th 1985)
“If you pray, Satan cannot injure you even a little, because you are God’s children and He is watching over you. Pray, and let the Rosary always be in your hands as a sign to Satan that you belong to me.” (February 25th 1988)
Prayer as the Virgin Mary’s ammunition
Whereas prayer sanctifies the individual soul, it does the same on a collective, global level. In revealing that she was sent by God, that God has put “His entire confidence” in her, that “this time is my time” and that the final purpose of her apparitions in Medjugorje is bringing the whole world to conversion, the Virgin Mary has also clarified how she saves and leads her children during this time of intensified spiritual battle.
In doing so, she is at the same time endlessly powerful and endlessly vulnerable. She is strong because she obtains everything that she asks from God in prayer. And she is vulnerable because she only has the ‘amount’ of prayer that human beings give her.
If the Virgin Mary has too little prayer at her disposal, the situation can be likened to a general who runs out of ammunition. Whereas, for a every human being, too little prayer means being disconnected from her and from God – and missing the ability to obtain the graces that the Virgin Mary has in store for all people. Everyone who prays, that is:
“Dear children, today I call you to begin to pray the Rosary with a living faith. That way I will be able to help you. You, dear children, wish to obtain graces, but you are not praying. I am not able to help you because you do not want to get started. Dear children, I am calling you to pray the Rosary and that your Rosary be an obligation which you shall fulfill with joy. That way you shall understand the reason I am with you this long. I desire to teach you to pray. Thank you for having responded to my call.” (June 12th 1986)
Quite a different story, then, when more people decide for God by committing themselves to heed the Virgin’s call. That is when progress is being made in what the Virgin Mary has also called “this peaceless world”:
“Through you and your prayer, little children, peace will begin to flow through the world. That is why, little children, pray, pray, pray, because prayer works miracles in the hearts of mankind and in the world. I am with you and I thank God for each of you who has accepted and lives prayer with seriousness.” (October 25th 2001)
14 years earlier she had said the same from a slightly different perspective:
“Children, here is the reason why I need your prayer: Prayer is the only way to save the human race.” (July 30th 1987)