In the first story Columba, who founded the Christian centre on Iona in the 6th century, simply shouts one word twice. That is his prayer. And angels of God know exactly what he is saying and under Divine instruction answer Columba's prayer. In the second story Aidan, who founded the Christian centre on Lindisfarne in the 7th century, simply makes a statement. That is his prayer. And the Spirit of God moves.
Simple prayers can be very powerful!
Columba sat transcribing the Scriptures in his little cell at Iona. Two brothers who were near the open door were alarmed when his countenance suddenly changed and he shouted ‘Help! help!’
‘What is the matter?’ they asked with consternation. Columba told them: ‘A brother at our monastery at Oakwood Plain in Derry was working at the very top of the large house they are building there, and he slipped and began to fall. I ordered the angel of the Lord who was standing just there among you two to go immediately to save this brother.’
Later they learned that a man had indeed fallen from that great height, but nothing was broken, and he did not even feel any bruise. As they discussed this Columba said: ‘How wonderful beyond words is the swift motion of an angel, it is as swift as lightning. For the heavenly spirit who flew from us when that man began to fall was there to support him in a twinkling of an eye before his body reached the ground. How wonderful that God gives such help through his angels, even when much land and sea lies between.’
Aidan was spending time out on the isle of Inner Farne praying in solitude and silence, the Pagan king Penda, of Mercia, began an attack on Bamburgh castle. As he could not capture it by assault or siege he attampted to set it on fire. He tore the local town apart to get fire wood and built it up against the castle and gates. Waiting for a favourable wind he lit the fire and watched the flames rise high against the castle.
When Aidan saw the flames rising into the sky and the great plume of smoke he raised his eyes and hands towards heaven and said, with tears in his eyes, "Lord, see what evil Penda is doing!". As soon as these words had left his lips the winds changed and blew across the ocean towards the castle, pushing the flames away from the castle and towards those who had lit them. Penda and his army fled, and the fire did little damage. Later when Penda heard the story of the power of Aidan's prayer he vowed never to attack this castle again as he realized that it was Divinely protected.
Keep it simple. Matthew 6v7-8
Wording for the Columba story taken from 'Celtic Daily Light' on the reading for September 30th. Wording for the Aidan story taken from Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People.