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US speaker Dan Burke challenges parishioners to think differently about prayer

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Dan Burke speaks on the importance of prayer to a crowded Moorebank church on 15 January.  Photo: Parousia Media
Dan Burke speaks on the importance of prayer to a crowded Moorebank church on 15 January. Photo: Parousia Media

In a politically-charged world where millions suffer from the consequences of endless conflict, it is clear that most people are convinced that it is only through action that there can be peace.

Holding to overused sayings such as “God helps those who helps themselves” or “fight fire with fire”, people have lost sight of the strength found in developing a deep spiritual life dependent on the grace and the will of God.

One man who’s challenging this view is US speaker Dan Burke who is currently on tour in Australia with Parousia Media.

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The founder of the Avila Foundation unpacked the importance of prayer and highlighted the crucial role that a relationship with God plays in bringing about peace to a crowded Moorebank church on 15 January.

“If you don’t pray for what God desires to occur, it won’t come to fruition, because he’s chosen us to be the central part of his plan of redeeming the world,” said Burke.

“How much he wants to meet us in prayer—how much he wants to pour out his grace through your heart and your mind to bring about the salvation of the world.”

Breaking open the scripture passages on Mary and Martha and using examples from a number of saints, the founder of the Avila Foundation revealed how easily we can fall into hypocrisy when we busy ourselves with external piety and neglect our internal spiritual life.

Instead of choosing to show our faith through only our actions, we should sit down and experience our faith by choosing the ‘better part’, Jesus Christ, Burke said.

Turning his attention to the practicality of prayer, Burke spoke of the benefits of having a sacred space, time and attention to putting good prayer habits and routines in place.

The founder of the Avila Foundation unpacked the importance of prayer and highlighted the crucial role that a relationship with God plays in bringing about peace to a crowded Moorebank church on 15 January.  Photo: Parousia Media
The founder of the Avila Foundation unpacked the importance of prayer and highlighted the crucial role that a relationship with God plays in bringing about peace to a crowded Moorebank church on 15 January. Photo: Parousia Media

This is what most of the saints have done, and it helps us in our battle to develop a close spiritual relationship with God, he said.

For Moorebank parishioners Julie el-Haj and Maria Saur, Burke and his talk was nothing like they had expected.

“I loved how Dan presented himself as a masculine Catholic man who was able to connect with Jesus and share his heart with Jesus’ heart,” said el-Haj.

“He spoke of St Joseph as an example of how men should be in their relationship with Jesus.”

Saur said she became emotional listening to him speak of his personal experience of prayer.

“I took so much away from his talk, particularly what he said about having a sacred space, sacred time and sacred attention,” she said.

“I want to have that in my life.”

Burke will conclude his Australian tour with a talk at St Philip’s Catholic Church in Melbourne on 17 January.

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