Sunday, February 1, 2015
“Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to His voice in the depth of our hearts.” ― Mother Teresa
It always makes me angry when I see a doctor or someone in authority on a television show tell an anxious family member that “All we can do now is pray.” Saying that is to assume that the only reason we pray is to ask for God to fix something that we cannot. That is not prayer--which is a constant two-way communication with God. We don’t pray for God to make us fly. We pray to God so that we can listen to what God has to say to us. Prayer is acknowledging our relationship and asking for what we don’t know how to say in words. Oswald Chambers had it right when he said, “We tend to use prayer as a last resort, but God wants it to be our first line of defense. We pray when there's nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all.” I have a friend and former parishioner who is dying of stage four cancer. He’s much older than I am and I am not praying that he does not die, not with stage four cancer. I am praying that his passing into God’s arms is as painless as it can be and that he understands (good man that he is) that his work here is finally done. I am praying that his family has the strength to endure his loss and the comfort that only God can give. I am praying that all who love him have the wisdom to understand this part of the process of life and grieve for him in ways that help them to be better people, to better understand that life is fleeting. Prayer may not change others, but it will change you. Prayer is why we are here. We prayed for God’s will and listened when we heard it. Mother Teresa says it like this, “Prayer makes your heart bigger, until it is capable of containing the gift of God himself. Prayer begets faith, faith begets love, and love begets service on behalf of the poor.” If you love God, you pray for Him to remain in your heart as you remain in His. We can do almost anything if we pray earnestly enough and if enough of us pray. “Prayer may just be the most powerful tool mankind has,” says Ted Dekker, and he is right. It can bring you peace in the midst of turmoil, strength in weakness, joy in sorrow, and wisdom in confusion. It is not the last hope of the desperate, it is the first choice of one who knows his own weakness. Pray without ceasing and remember that prayer is a conversation such that you need to listen as well. Prayer has brought us thus far and it is prayer that will lead us home.