This is the first of six weekly meditations by Fr John Gallagher, SJ
I OFTEN meet elderly people. They tell me of their loneliness, their sense of isolation as friends, husbands, wives, relatives go before them. But there is no reason why they can't be together — as people joined in prayer.
If all the older people in the Church joined together in prayer, sometimes at the same times for the same things, they not only would lose their loneliness and feeling of isolation and uselessness, but would form a mighty Powerhouse of Prayer.
Powerhouse belongs to the elderly, but it ia open to others — to the ill, the suffering, the lonely, to all the young people who want to pray with their grandparents. There is no formal organisation; God knows who you are, and when you pray for all Powerhouse members there is no need for you to know each one's name.
God knows, and that is sufficient. It is important to pray for one another, for all Powerhouse members and their intentions and to ask that your intentions be included.
Many tell of their prayers being answered, but far more say they now have a sense of 'belonging, that they do not pray in loneliness, but with a happy realisation that thgey pray with thousands of others. It is a good thing to know that even after your death there will be many people praying for you.
How the people of Powerhouse pray is a matter between God and themselves. They should pray easily, knowing that God loves them and wants only their salvation. We should talk to God as One who is close to us, telling Him of our love, of the concerns we have. He knows our needs but it is good for us to speak of them.
They have many prayer intentions, but one most often mentioned is prayer for youth — not critical of young people but that they might be strengthened in their faith and might mature to serve others. They pray for the hungry people in the world, for the sick, lonely, depressed, who need one person to care, as one Powerhouse member put it. They pray for the unemployed, for all those having a difficult time meeting the needs of their families and themselves. I suggest that next Sunday we all say a Rosary for an increase in vocations to the priesthood. Catholics in nursing homes and retirement centres take part, there are parish Powerhouse groups — people who get together after Mass or perhaps in the afternoons to pray together. It is not only in this country, but throughout the United States and Canada — vast numbers praying for one another. The Powerhouse has
certainly been turned on! And you are part of this Powerhouse of Prayer as soon as you decide you will be. There is an old hymn, "What a friend we have in Jesus". Now we come to him with all our new friends of Powerhouse, praying together, praying for each other. Christ once said: "If' two or three are gathered together in my name I am in the midst of them." There are more than two or three here to honour Christ, and he is certainly in the midst of them.
We have been asked by those who are not Catholics if they can join. The answer is that while Powerhouse is in a very special way Catholic, all who wish to pray with us are welcome.
Powerhouse has grown rapidly, and it has grown only because it is good that people be drawn together, to pray for one another and others, to become a community who love God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Ghost and who love the Church.
Some have asked for especial prayer for Powerhouse, and I would like to suggest a very inspiring evening prayer. It is not well known so perhaps it could be specially for us: "Watch, 0 Lord, with those who wake or weep or watch tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep. Tend your sick ones, 0 Lord Christ, rest your weary ones, bless your dying ones, soothe your suffering ones, pity your afflicted ones, shield your joyous ones, and all for your love's sake. Amen."