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Does God Hear Prayers?

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God hears your prayer. He delights when we come to him and ask him to help us. He wants to give us the things we need, not the things we think we need. Sometimes the answers we get to prayers aren’t what we want or expect or they take longer than we think they should. But, none of that is the absence of answers.

God hears every prayer no matter what method of praying you use: speaking, singing, or thinking. Even our actions can be a prayer to God.

God is waiting to hear from us. Psalm 34:15 reminds us, the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their cry.

He never sleeps and is always available to hear our prayer. We must humble ourselves and seek Him.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers of the people offered in this place. (II Chronicles 7:14-15)

In I Chronicles 5:20, we are told that God answered the prayers of the people because they trusted in Him.

Believing that God will answer our prayers, trusting in His ability to hear and answer is important.

The book of Psalms is full of David’s petitions to God and his thoughts on prayer.

In the sixth chapter he says, “the Lord has heard my cry for mercy; the Lord accepts my prayer.”

Many places in the Bible site similar conditions for prayers to be heard: living well, trusting in God, being humble.

In other words, the prayers that are heard are those that come from a person who has a relationship with God, someone who believes that his or her prayers will be answered by a loving heavenly Father.

How do you develop a relationship with God? Just like you do with friends and coworkers.

By getting to know them, spending time with them, talking to them. So it is with God.

Spend time with Him and get to know Him and you won’t have to ask this question anymore. You’ll know without a doubt that He is there.

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Vatican’s Cardinal Luis Tagle Ordains 24 Deacons

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A total of 24 deacons that successfully completed studies at the Rome’s Pontifical Urban College have been ordained according to reliable sources from Vatican.

The Rome’s Pontifical Urban College is a major seminary under the care of the Congregation for the Evangelization of People.

Vatican’s Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle presided over Mass and ordained these deacons on Saturday.

The 24 deacons come from Camerun, Benin, Senegal, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, South Sudan, Zimbabwe, India, China, South Korea, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea, and give “witness to the universality of the Church and its mission”.

Cardinal Tagle recalled the Vatican II constitution Lumen Gentium which describes the role of the deacon “in service of the liturgy, of the Gospel, and of charity”, and quoting Saint Polycarp that they “be merciful, diligent, walking according to the truth of the Lord, who became the servant of all.” 

He underscored that “deacons are called to be living signs of Jesus, whose lordship is expressed in humble service to all”. With the grace of God, they remind Christians of “our common call to serve as Jesus did.”

Recalling the Gospel reading, where Jesus says,”Remain in me, as I remain in you…I am the vine, you are the branches…without me you can do nothing”, Cardinal Tagle noted the special meaning this has today for the new deacons.

He said it is not enough to know that Jesus lives in us, but that “we must choose to live and remain in him”, so we may “become like him in love and service”.

He encouraged the new deacons to “show the world the greatness of humble service, which is the fruit of living in Jesus.”

He also entrusted them to the care and protection of Mary, our Mother, and of Saint Joseph, “both humble servants, who lived for and in Jesus.”

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Ramadhan Requires Prayer, Worship & Reflection

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The Muslim Holy month of Ramadhan is here with us again. It is a month of prayer, worship and reflection. World’s estimated 1.6 billion Muslims kicked off their Ramadhan on April 13 and will conclude on May 12.

Ramadan, also spelled Ramazan, Ramzan, Ramadhan or Ramathan, is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community.

The lunar calendar, which is followed by Islam, is 10 to 11 days shorter than the modern-day Gregorian calendar (which is based on the Earth’s rotation around the sun). This difference means Ramadan begins on a different day each year. This year it will begin in mid-April; in 10 years time it will begin in mid-January.

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, which are compulsory commandments ordered by God. The other pillars are prayer, the declaration of faith, giving charity and going on the Hajj pilgrimage if the believer is physically and financially able. 

Muslims believe that through fasting they are able to strengthen their relationship with God. Time is spent participating in acts of worship, such as praying, reading the Quran and giving to charity.

Abstaining from food and drink during daylight hours allows Muslims to practise willpower and focus their energy on working on their faith.

Fasting also allows Muslims to empathise with those who are less fortunate, and be more compassionate to those in need.

Can anything invalidate a fast?

Yes, including intentionally eating or drinking, intercourse, smoking and menstrual bleeding. 

One question most Muslims get asked during Ramadan (alongside the infamous gasp of  “not even water?”) is what happens if you eat or drink by mistake? Can you not just take a doughnut when no one is looking?

Eating or drinking intentionally invalidates your fast, as the purpose of Ramadan is to practice self-restraint and engage in religious acts.

However, eating or drinking, if it is done through a genuine mistake, does not nullify your fast: followers can continue fasting as normal.

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Makkah Pilgrims Without Umrah Permits Face U$2,666 Fine

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Saudi Arabia announced that pilgrims who perform Umrah without a permit during the month of Ramadan will be fined as officials are trying to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

An official source at the Ministry of Interior said a fine of SR10,000 ($2,666) would be imposed on anyone who tries to perform Umrah without a permit, along with a SR1,000 fine for anyone who tries to enter the Grand Mosque in Makkah without a permit.

Saudi authorities are looking beyond Ramadan as the measure will be valid until the end of the pandemic or when “life returns to normal,” the source added.

The source said the ministry wants to ensure that all precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the virus are adhered to.

It also wants to ensure that approved regulations for performing Umrah and prayer are in line with the operational safety capacity at all Grand Mosque sites and squares.

Every pilgrim wishing to perform Umrah or prayers in the Grand Mosque must obtain a permit.

The source also said that security personnel will be on patrol at all security control centers, roads, sites and pathways leading to the central area surrounding the Grand Mosque.

Meanwhile, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Saud bin Naif, minister of interior, who is also chairman of the Hajj Supreme Committee, approved the general emergency plan for Makkah and Madinah during Ramadan.

The director general of the General Directorate of Civil Defense, Lt. Gen. Sulaiman bin Abdullah Al-Amro, said COVID-19 inspection tours have been intensified at all facilities and sites frequented by pilgrims and visitors.

The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah said on Thursday that the Umrah and Tawakkalna applications have been launched in their updated versions, through cooperation with the Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence.

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