The Power of Prayer

This week I’ll be leading a retreat at Cape May Point, NJ on the Atlantic Ocean. Jesus told us to proclaim the gospel to the “whole world.” I’m sure that includes the Jersey Shore! This week-long retreat is being held at St. Mary-by-the-Sea, the retreat center of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Philadelphia. It’s located right on the ocean! Last time I was there I could see dolphins from my bedroom window! If you would like to see this lovely place, go to their website:

But recently I was told that there will be ninety people on this retreat. Ninety! The large number made me nervous. I moaned to myself, “How can I possible reach all those people?” I shared my concern with a nun friend of mine, Sister Cora. She said, “Melannie, why don’t you get nine Notre Dames to pray for this retreat. Each one can pray for ten retreatants.” I liked her idea. Immediately I felt as if a load was being lifted from my shoulders as I began to look for nine sisters for this “special prayer task.” (Sister Cora was my first recruit!) I had no trouble finding the other eight. Everyone I asked said yes. They all seemed eager to pray for their ten retreatants.

Why am I telling you this? Because this experience taught me (or re-taught me!) two lessons. First, I must hand over the fruits of this retreat to the Holy Spirit. Yes, I will do my part, but the real work of the retreat is God’s responsibility. Not mine. Secondly, the experience reminded me of the power of prayer. When we say to someone, “I’ll pray for you,” we are not giving mere lip service. We are doing something—something beautiful and positive. Prayer is very real. Something happens when we pray for one another. A bond is created between the pray-er and the pray-ee. Power goes forth. Sometimes we actually feel the support of other people’s prayers—even if they are miles away. It’s as if energy passes between us and among us. Have you ever experienced something like this?

When I get to Cape May I will give the retreatants a list of the nine SND’s who are praying for them. Knowing these sisters are praying for them is sure to be a source of encouragement for the retreatants. It has already been a source of encouragement for me!

(You are most welcome to join in prayer for this retreat? It runs from July 10-17. Thank you very much!)

No Comments

  1. David Batsche on July 9, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Dear Sister Mel,

    Yes, I will pray for you during your retreat. You’ll be fine.

    Best wishes,

  2. Sr. Sally Huston on July 9, 2012 at 9:57 am

    Count me in as a “pray-er!” I will also especially pray for you, Melannie!..since my guess is that you were not among the 90! Say hello to the dolphins for me! St. Mary’s is certainly a special place for experiencing God!

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on July 9, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Yes, St. Mary’s-on-the-Sea is a “special place for experiencing God.” Thanks for your prayers, Sally! Melannie

  3. Ellen Svette Huntsman on July 9, 2012 at 2:48 pm

    You certainly have my prayers!!

    During the last 5 yrs. the power of prayer has had a tremendous impact in my life, both as a prayor (sp?) and a recipient.

    Prayer has lifted me out of darkenss, gave me healing of mind, body & spirit; not to mention the gratification of serving others in this simple, but most powerful way.

    Enjoy the sea! I know you will.

    Thank you for your message.

    God bless you and your retreatants.

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on July 9, 2012 at 5:05 pm

      Thanks, Ellen! You reminded me that prayer can be a form of service of others! Thank you! Melannie

  4. Sr. Ann Marie Teder on July 9, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    I’ll be praying for you too, Melannie, and for all the retreatants.

  5. smjames on July 9, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    Hi Melannie,
    If you see any water skiers think of your spiritual journey. This came to me at Our House. The skier follows the boat in a straight line and is able to stay upright. Often when the skier tries to ride the wake, he falls, but the driver (God) always stops and comes and rescues. But the skier CAN learn
    to ride the wake with enough practice and trust –he can go places God might want him and will always protect him

  6. smjames on July 9, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    I’ll be praying.too!

  7. Dion on July 9, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    I will pray for you and the ninety retreatants. Thanks for the invitation. Amazing how we are all part of becoming ONE –awesome. Thanks for taking all of us to Cape May!

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on July 9, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Thank you, Dion! I’m glad you will be going with me to Cape May in a special way! Melannie

  8. Marilou Strathern on July 10, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    You have my prayerful support, but you are so gifted God has pretty much taken care of it all… I have been on the receiving end of your talents and you can’t miss!
    Blessings and love..

  9. S. Pat Newhouse on July 11, 2012 at 8:58 am

    Hi Melonie,
    I feel like I’m still in retreat with you. It’s been wonderful connecting to your Sunflower Seeds blog and reading your book Gracious Goodness.
    I’m at Mother Seton’s Shrine in Emmitsburg, MD. praying for you and
    your retreatants. Enjoy the ocean and the dolphins!
    God bless you,
    S Pat

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on July 30, 2012 at 2:05 pm

      Thanks so much, Pat! It was wonderful having you on retreat! Melannie

  10. Francismarie on July 12, 2012 at 6:51 am

    Best to you and the retreat members at St.Mary on the Sea . What a lovely surroundings to meet God! Praying for each of you! smfm

  11. Antonee on July 17, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Just read your blog…today is the 17th. I will pray that each of the 90 retreatants will leave this grace filled time going back to their ministries with that grace that God most wants them to carry back to their everyday lives…filled with grace, compassion, mercy, kindness and being reflections of the loving God that you presented to them that they may learn to experience God’s presence in the little and ordinary things of each day. May God continue to bless YOU and each of your ninety retreatants.

    • Melannie Svoboda SND on July 30, 2012 at 2:10 pm

      Thank you for your prayers, Antonee. The retreat seemed to go well. I know I was edified by the women’s prayerfulness, attentiveness, joy, and appreciation for the beauty of their surroundings. Melannie

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