How to multiply the power of God

By  Catherine O'Brien, Friar's Writing Award
  • February 1, 2018

The annual Friars’ Student Writing Awards, sponsored by The Catholic Register and the Franciscan Friars of Atonement Graymoor, produced some stellar essays this year, three of which earned special recognition.

This year, Ontario high school students were asked to write a 500-word essay on this theme for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity: “Just as the Israelites sought deliverance from enslavement, in contemporary society the dignity of all people is threatened by new enslavements to poverty, violence, injustice and addictions. In what ways can Christians of all denominations work together to stave off these assaults to human dignity?”

The following is Catherine O'Brien's essay that placed second in the Friar's Writing Contest:

The modern world has built a culture that places fame at the highest esteem. 

Actors, models and artists have taken society by storm. Their popularity has blurred the line between a role model and an idol. People are losing sight of the values that God set out for us to follow, as we mistake our role models for moral guides.

Consequently, idolatry is increasingly present amongst God’s people. Only unity between all Christian denominations can remind people of the importance of God’s grace above all outer influences.

People have forgotten that God’s guidance is what should be shaping our decisions. God intends to direct His people towards absolute values that are different from acclaimed cultural standards.

The absolute values of life, hope and truth are modelled throughout the Bible as God inspires people to live by these principles. For instance, people lose sight of the hope God gives us when we do good things and instead have a longing to earn cultural recognition in the forms of fame and fortune.

The warped forms of prosperity that celebrities display cause the dismissal of God’s unparalleled generosity.
Additionally, people compromise their Christian values of life by submitting to society’s take on euthanasia and, as a result, neglect to weigh the severity of their actions.

Many Christians neglect God’s guidance and find it easier to look to other people for moral counsel in times of insecurity, like when contemplating abortion.

Looking up to someone you respect and living life by their standard of “good” are two very different ideas.
Hence, idolatry in the realm of fame has become increasingly present amongst God’s people because of their confusion and neglect of God in a society where role models often become idols.

The moment people submit themselves to cultural role models, is the moment they begin distancing themselves from God and slow separation eventually leads to complete exclusion. The only way to fight this movement of idolatry amongst the Christian community is through the united power of prayer.

In Matthew 18:20, Jesus said “for where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in the midst of them.”
There is more strength in unified faith than solitary faith because with unity comes the multiplication of God’s power. The power of united prayer is preached across all Christian denominations and, yet, is commonly overlooked.

Unification in prayer and spirit is the only way to save those who have lost sight of the importance of God. If all Christians stay strong and pray in unison, we can remind people of the vitality of God’s guidance.

Despite the separate denominations in the realm of Christianity, God refers to all of His followers as His people.

Anyone that invokes His name to do good will be helped. Thus, in the midst of the idolatry that society has built, the strength of prayer amid all Christians is the means by which humanity can be torn away from cultural idols and brought back to God’s kingdom.

(O’Brien, 17, is a Grade 12 student at St. Joseph’s Morrow Park Catholic Secondary School in Toronto.)