Prayer Leads Us Forward in Hope

"Prayer leads us forward in hope" - Pope Francis quote in On Hope - floral backgroundI found my friend on his knees praying in the hospital chapel. We had received word that a family member of our friend was extremely sick and might not make it through the next day. As I embraced my friend and his tears fell on my shoulder, he told me, “I feel I am having a crisis of faith, because I am in here begging God to save my loved one.”

My tears joined his as I said, “The fact that you are in this chapel crying out to God in this time of darkness shows me the depth of your faith. You are turning to God in your time of need, and God is meeting you in this right now.”

My friend’s prayers reminded me of our need to hope in God, to feel heard by God, and to know that God can answer our prayers. “Prayer leads us forward in hope,” as Pope Francis reminds us in On Hope.

In our times of darkness, when we face our human limitations, we realize our need for God. We cry out in these moments to the source of our hope, which is God. God is with us. We are never alone. God responds to our prayers, not always with the answer we want, but with graces and gifts to get us through the journey. Prayer opens us to God, and God shines light into our darkness, enabling us to take a step forward, and then another, and then another.

The witness of my friend’s ability to hope that day is one I will never forget. I pull from his ability to cry out to God when I face my own darkness and the darkness I encounter in the world. God meets me in my prayers, increases my ability to hope, and inspires actions for me to take.

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Becky Eldredge
Becky Eldredge is a writer and spiritual director in Baton Rouge, LA. The author of Busy Lives & Restless Souls and The Inner Chapel, Becky holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education from Louisiana State University and a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University New Orleans. She has her Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Spring Hill College. Becky has been involved in ministry for more than 15 years, with the majority of her work in retreat ministry and adult faith formation. While ministry is one of her passions, her greatest joy is sharing life with her husband, Chris, and her children, Brady, Abby, and Mary.


  1. Your story reminded me that knowing God’s presence in moments of highest need is a gift for me because I’m letting go of darkness. It is my starting place. Thanks for spotlighting a time when you and another met god in enlightning moments.
    Over time, I can begin to ready myself for the next step and start moving in a new direction. It could be lighting a candle, smelling a rose, smelling a loved one’s perfume, or hearing a music track. It could become a picture that reminds me of good feelings and meaningful moments.
    Further along the pathway, when and if I can enroll others, I’m on my way into the light. Great share, Thanks.

  2. Dear Becky, your reflections always seem to hit the right note for me ; at the right time. I wish I could send this to a dear friend of mine, but she is too angry with God at present. We don’t always get what we pray for. God Bless you and keep it up!! A.M.D.G.

  3. I teach high school and so often quote Martin Luther King’s metaphore about light and darkness but you brought a wonderful hope filled insight to me in times of light and darkness Thanks in so many ways.

  4. Your words are always an inspiration to me. In particular today I’m reminded of the importance of HOPE and how to support others in their distress. With the Psalmist we pray, “Our hope is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth.” Thank you for this reflection.

  5. Becky, thank you so much for the daily reflection. Your words mean so much. Though simple, their meaning is so profound. I especially love the part where you said, “God shines light into our darkness” this is so true and there are times we have so much darkness that only His light can penetrate it. Thanks again


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