The Key to Prayer…
Devotional Thought fo the Day:
19 This, then, is how we will know that we belong to the truth; this is how we will be confident in God’s presence. 20If our conscience condemns us, we know that God is greater than our conscience and that he knows everything. 21And so, my dear friends, if our conscience does not condemn us, we have courage in God’s presence. 22We receive from him whatever we ask, because we obey his commands and do what pleases him. 23What he commands is that we believe in his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as Christ commanded us. 24Those who obey God’s commands live in union with God and God lives in union with them. And because of the Spirit that God has given us we know that God lives in union with us. 1 John 3:19-24
386 You lack faith… and you lack love. Were it not so you would go immediately and much more often to Jesus, asking for this thing and that. Don’t delay any further; call out to him and you will hear Christ speaking to you: “What do you want me to do for you?” Just as when he stopped for that poor blind man by the roadside who continued to insist, without giving up.
To write on prayer is challenging.
In the first place, it is too personal, especially when considering St Josemaria’s words about pleading for this thing or that. Personal becomes I have, and sometimes been disappointed. It is also too personal, because some of the things I would ask, are well personal. Lord, help me with this temptation, Lord, help me with this that causes anxiety and fear to rise up within me. Not a lot of personal examples would I want to give,
The second reason is that there are two extremes when it comes to prayer. The first is those who express what is often mocked as “name it – claim it” theology. These are those who say you should pray like Jabez, and God will bless you with all forms of materialism, perfect families, perfect jobs, perfect health and absolute heaven on earth. The other extreme confronts this so callously that you would almost think they believe God doesn’t listen to any prayer, that God doesn’t care for His people here.
But there are passages, the blind man that St Josemaria points out, the unjust judge, the father who doesn’t give his son a stone or a viper, but gives him what is asked. The passages where Jesus invites us to cast all our cares on Him, all our burdens, where He tells us to ask and it will be given. God wants us to pray, including asking Him to care for us, but I think there is something more that we need to understand. If we don’t, then God is reduced to being a Genie in a bottle. ( I think sometimes we think we have to save up for those really big things, so we don’t give him the everyday stuff)
Here is the key, faith and love, the very things that unite us to God, the very things that bind us to Him. That is where prayer comes from, this close connection, this committed relationship. It is knowing we are loved and loving back, it is in knowing that God is faithful, trustworthy, completely dependable because He desires what it good for us. Prayer is realizing that in Him we live and breathe and have our very being, so this communication is only natural.
This allows the prayer to come out of the depths, the places in our hearts, soul, and mind where we fear to go. Prayer comes from the place that so needs His peace, to know He is our sanctuary, our deliverance. This is the astonishing depth of prayer, and it shows our trust in the love of God who has come to us and given us life.
It is there that “Lord, have mercy” is simple and yet comprehensive prayer to the one who has brought us into union with Himself, for we are His children.
Escriva, Josemaria. The Forge (Kindle Locations 1511-1515). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.