…..from your Pastor’s Desk:
What were the words you used the last time you prayed? I mean, really prayed, not just grace before meals or ‘Now I lay Me Down To Sleep’; but a heartfelt prayer. Was it words like, please or I want? Words like I need or Why don’t you? Or was it words like; Thank you and praise you and I love you and ‘What can I do for you, my God?’
We each can ask ourselves: Do I contact God only in times of loss, pain and suffering? Only in times of trial? What about regularly giving God prayers of praise and thanksgiving each and every day, especially words of gratitude and love?
Some people say that religious people are hypocrites and do bad things in the name of religious beliefs. There are a lot of people out there who want to keep God and religion at a distance… except when disaster occurs. And then they wonder where He is! From their side, they’ve had no contact with God and now, when things are bad, they wonder where God is. [BTW – God is where He always is/was/shall be]
As Christians we know that God is aware of our needs. God knows them better than we do, and knows them even before we ask Him to fulfill our needs. So when we pray we’re not informing God about anything God doesn’t already know. What we’re really doing is asking God what He wants us to do.
God wants to take care of us… God is eager to respond to us. We shouldn’t assume that we pray in order to overcome God’s reluctance. We don’t pray in order to change God’s mind. Heck, I don’t want God to change His mind about me. God’s already totally for me. I don’t want Him to change at all.
So why pray? Well, first of all we need to rid ourselves of the bad habit of praying as if we are talking at God. Prayer should not and cannot be a one-way presentation of our own little shopping list of items we want God to take from His shelf and put into our shopping cart. That’s little more than Department-Store Christianity. A very important reason for praying is so that we will take the opportunity to listen to God, to reflect on what God has been doing in our lives, and to contemplate… so that we can begin to see God’s responses to us. Another very important reason is so that we will place ourselves at His disposal. Prayer, consistent prayer, is saying to God “I love you. I’m here for you. What would you like me to do for you? I’ll do what you ask.”
Ever say something out loud and then retract it once you’ve heard yourself actually say it – and then rephrase what you really meant? Me too. So, another important point is that we pray in order to ask. Not that God needs us to ask. No. It is we who need to ask. We need to hear what we are asking for. Is what we want worthwhile, of value, of sufficient value that it’s worth asking God? God is present to us in His most valuable gifts to us. What value do we place on them? Are they of enough value for us to invest our time in seeking them? Time is far more valuable to us than mere money. When we take the time to fashion something we must really value it. Prayer, says God, is valuable to us.
So why pray? To show God that we really do want Him. To let God give us what we really want and truly need, something far deeper than simple answers to most of our prayer requests.
In your prayers, give God your very best. As I said before, tell Him: “I love you. I’m here for you. What would you like me to do for you? I’ll do what you ask.” Then, and only then, ask God for His very best – His love. He will give it to you, His very own presence and love in your heart and in your soul. Did not Jesus tell us: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Matthew 7:7)
The big thing, however, is to be persistent, so seek God daily and consistently. Love that’s not renewed grows cold. Is love that is unspoken really love? Today’s Gospel asked: When the Son of Man returns, will He find faith on earth? And we might further ask: When we return to God, will He find love of Him imbedded deeply in our hearts, in the days of our lives?
I think He will.