The other day a friend related to me her discouragement in prayer. She said that she had been praying that the troops come home from Iraq. Since they were still there and still in danger, she concluded that her prayer was not heard.
I tried to encourage her by saying that perhaps there were soldiers alive today because of her prayers, or maybe there were Iraqi mothers whose children were safe thanks to her prayers.
Prayer is not our work. How would we even know how to pray, since nobody has ever seen God or been able to say anything coherent about him? Prayer is only the prayer of Christ. By the power of the Spirit the humanity of Christ prays to the Father from within our humanity.
The life of the world, the re-creation of the world depends on this prayer, this dynamic. We don't do it as if it were a task, but have only to surrender our hearts to it. And if enough of us surrender to the prayer that is at the heart of the world, and if we work to make our surrender more perfect, we permit God to save the world. Iraq included.