The Power of Prayer, Children of Mary Sisters,
Painted by David Meuller (born 1964),
Oil on canvas,
Painted in 2018
© David Mueller fine Art
Lord, teach us to pray
Once Jesus was in a certain place praying, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.’
He said to them, ‘Say this when you pray:
‘“Father, may your name be held holy,
your kingdom come;
give us each day our daily bread,
and forgive us our sins,
for we ourselves forgive each one who is in debt to us.
And do not put us to the test.”’
Reflection on the painting
On Christmas morning 2018, the Children of Mary sisters visited the cathedral in Cincinnati. They got a surprise as they walked in the door: a painting of themselves at prayer was hung in the narthex. They absolutely loved it and were very moved. The artist David Mueller when being interviewed about the painting said: “Two years ago in March, I will have finished treatment for cancer in my neck. For five months, I had all kinds of people praying for me. Every time they would tie me down for radiation, five days a week for seven weeks, I would say, ‘Let it be in God’s hands.’ There’s nothing you can do at that point but let it go – you have no control over it, over what happens. All I could do was pray and know that other people were praying for me.” This painting was given as a thank you for the sisters' prayers. What a wonderful gesture and gift.
David Mueller’s almost photo-realistic style combined with impressionist-like quick handed brushwork makes us participate in the intimacy of the sisters’ prayers. We are praying with them as we look at this painting. The request one of the Disciples makes to Jesus in today’s reading is one of the most beautiful ones in Scripture: ‘Lord, teach us how to pray’. What a beautiful request! It demonstrates how eager the disciple was to try to improve his prayer life. He longed to get in on the mysterious relationship Christ has with his Father. And by praying the Our Father, we do exactly that: we participate in their relationship.
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