Thursday, March 13, 2014

Honesty in praying...

I didn't write this one... but I wish I had.
This comes from a daily prayer email
that inspired my own prayer writing and sharing. The below is written by their editor: Dan Connors, editor

Matthew 7:7
“Ask, and it will be given you;search, and you will find;knock, and the door will be opened for you."

Lent is the time to look
honestly at my relationship with you;
so, respectfully, I have to ask:
do you really expect me
to believe what you say in today's gospel?
I can point to lots and lots of faithful people
who have prayed in their anguish
and seen their prayers go unanswered.

I'm not talking about the
"let me win the lottery" prayers;
I'm talking about the prayers rising
from deep in the human heart, to which,
from you, as the psalmists says,
there is no reply.

Even in the example you give here,
how many famine victims have
cried out to God
while they watched
their children die of hunger?
The "stones" they got instead of bread
could mark the graves of millions,
most of whom probably died thinking
it was their own fault--
they didn't pray hard enough, or
it was punishment for their sins.

"Ask and you shall receive."
You say things like this so often.
And we, your people,
have been struggling to make
sense of your words ever since
they were written down.
We spiritualize them;
we say we ask wrongly;
We say you always grant
an answer but we don't recognize it;
we say you always answer
but sometimes the answer is no.
We hold on to those occasions
when it seems prayer
has been answered,
while at the same time
doing our best to ignore the
many times it apparently hasn't.
The excuses we make go on and on.
It's got to be our fault,
we tell ourselves.
It certainly can't be yours.

But you didn't say
"Ask and sometimes the answer will be no."

Lord, if I am to follow you,
commit my life to you,
I need to know
I can trust what you say.
And this passage
and others like it
keep me up at night.

Help me, Jesus, to understand and believe.
And hear me when I cry with the psalmist:
"If you love us so much, Help us!"
and "God, don't just watch
from the sidelines. Come on!"

Help me to believe, with the psalmist,
that "God delivers generous love,
God makes good on God's word."

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