What does the church actually do? The church prays. That is her main calling. By praying for herself and the world she makes her unique contribution to the world. By praying in the name of Jesus, she does what she alone can do. The church is nothing else than the assembly of the faithful as they gather in prayer around the Lord’s Table.
The church is a liturgical community. As a liturgical community she prays. And the whole community is involved in her praying. That is how it was from the beginning of the church. After the ascension of Jesus the believers joined together in constant prayer. After Pentecost those who were baptized devoted themselves with the faithful to the apostles’ teaching, to the offering of gifts, to the breaking of bread in Holy Communion and to intercessory prayer. The early church was a church at prayer. As a praying community she made such an impact on her social environment that all people were filled with awe at her.
The early church dealt with the problems before her by praying. When she was faced with the challenge of evangelizing to the whole world, she did not establish missionary societies or organize a program for the systematic evangelization of each nation in turn; nor did she write tracts on evangelism to encourage her members to be evangelists. Instead, she celebrated the Sacrament and engaged in constant prayer. As a result, the Lord added daily to their number. She did the same when Peter was imprisoned. And how did she deal with the pressing political problems of her day, such as the Roman occupation of Palestine and the later threat to the security of the Roman Empire from barbarian invasions? She did not organize seminars and conferences to discuss the role of the church in the world; instead she prayed without ceasing and sang her hymns of praise. And none of these prayers was in vain. They reached heaven and changed the world. By praying, the church made her unique contribution to the world. And she still does so!