“If anyone wants to pray with us, we will be on the back deck.” My best friend Chris and I were at a bachelor party for my other best friend, Nate. The party was a group of eight guys who rented a cabin in Gaylord, Michigan, during the weekend of the 4th of July. The majority of the group were friends from Nate’s college career or early work career. Chris and I were the only friends from Nate’s high school days. Yet, what brought us together was a love for Nate, sports, and leisure games. Throw in some adult beverages, and we were having a nice weekend with the boys. 

Chris, a seminarian (discerning and studying to become a Catholic priest), was in the habit of praying the Liturgy of the Hours as part of his formation program. I had also been praying the Liturgy of the Hours as a layman for about a year. Whenever we came together for the weekend, it was natural that we would pray the hours in common. The other guys at the party did not have deep roots in their faith, and besides Nate, none claimed to be Catholic. Despite this, there was no judgment when Chris and I would separate ourselves from the group for 10-15 minutes to pray. In fact, curiosity began to form.

Chris, being more bold than I, had gotten into the habit of offering an open invitation to anyone who would like to pray midday prayer with us. By day two of the bachelor party, there were a couple who joined us just to listen. By day three, most of the bachelor party was present and praying, and a full apologetic/catechetical conversation followed inspired by questions for Chris and I. By the final night, both Chris and I had one-on-one faith sharing discussions with guys who were searching for God. While the focus of the bachelor party was still Nate and camaraderie, God made Himself known. We did not seek it out, but when the two of us came and gathered in the name of Jesus to pray the prayer of the Church, He was present. 

Nearly two years later, Nate and his wife’s first child’s baptism was taking place in California. Chris and I flew out to witness the joyous occasion. Nate’s family graciously opened their home to us. Again, Chris and I prayed the Hours together. When he wasn’t occupied with fatherly duties, Nate joined. The first night, we got together for a nice meal out, and the faith conversation flowed yet again. The following day, the baptism was a wonderful time, and God was present in His people and the sacrament. On the final evening, Chris in his admirable boldness yet again, asked us to pray the rosary as we walked home from dinner. Again, a full faith conversation ensued between the four of us (Chris, Nate, his wife, and myself). God was palpably present as we engaged in faith sharing. For me, it brought to a close an entire weekend that gave glory to God. 

Why was God able to work in our lives? It was because an environment was created that invited Him in. First, Chris and I came together and united ourselves to the living prayer of the Body of Christ, the Church, by praying the Hours. As Jesus promised, when we gathered in His name, He was present. Second, Chris’s boldness in the faith to invite people into our prayer reflected Christ’s mission of inviting all people to come to Him. Finally, Nate, his wife, and his friends accepted the invitation. As God never forces himself on us, He waits patiently for us to receive the grace. The simple formula of being united to the Body of Christ and being bold in your proclamation of Him opens doors that we would have never thought possible. God works, we just have to be intentionally open to Him.