Prayer Rescues the Trapped Soul

Prayer Rescues the Trapped Soul

“Consequently he is able for all time to save those who approach God through him…” Hebrew 7:25

In October of 1987, Jessica McClure fell into a well shaft while playing in her own backyard. The opening to the well was only 8 inches in diameter and it didn’t appear to be a threat to anyone’s safety. Still, Jessica, an 18 month old baby, found a way to fall into that hole and become trapped 22 feet below the surface. It took rescue crews 58 hours to free her.

The nation became fascinated with the rescue process. I like to think it was out of compassion for this little girl and her family. However, the emerging 24-hour news outlets turned the nation’s concern and compassion into obsession. The constant attention produced its own form of entrapment. A couple of years after the rescue, Jessica’s parents divorced. Then Robert O’Donnell, the rescue worker who pulled Jessica to safety, died by suicide. He suffered from PTSD and had a difficult time re-adjusting to normal life after being the center of national praise.

All of these lives were radically changed by one small accident. Random circumstances can leave us feeling trapped, physically and emotionally. When we feel trapped, who do we call for help? In Jessica’s case the answer was clear, rescue workers. But what about all the emotional traps which followed?

In today’s reading, Jesus is called the high priest. Frankly, in today’s world this is not a title of confidence. Trust in the institution of the Church and in the office of the priesthood are at all time lows. This is a condition not confined to Catholicism. Actually, Jesus, himself, does not do much to promote trust in priests in his ministry.

The role of the high priest in ancient Judaism was to be the one who brought the healing power of God to the people. It’s a traditional way to say, God saves us through Jesus. It would be a familiar image to the people reading Hebrews. Yet, even saying Jesus saves in our culture carries its own level of cynicism. These words have been manipulated to fit human ideology.

Cynics might argue doctors save, prayer is wishful thinking. But, it is remarkable how many doctors study prayer because of the results they have witnessed. Prayer is not the same thing as surgery. It centers the human heart, brings peace to the anxious soul, and invites healing. Prayer can rescue the trapped soul. It’s one way Jesus saves.

Click to read: Hebrews 7: 25- 8:2

Reflection Questions:

  • When was a time you felt trapped and alone?
  • How did you get out from this feeling of entrapment? Have you?
  • How would you describe your prayer life?
  • Who is praying for you this day?

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