Hi, By My Side friends.
I’m at the cottage today, and the clouds are heavy and dark as it feels like summer is slowly coming to a close. I’ve been thinking a lot this month about what God would like me to share with you. Through my own private prayers and thoughts, I would like to share some insights on personal prayer with you that I learned from a very special priest.
With many folks, there never seems to be much need for prayer when things are going well. Prayer is often reserved for special requests or complaints when things get rough. Praying for world peace and an end to many injustices always feels more wishful than hopeful. We can feel that our prayers are going unanswered, and we often ask God why.
God is good, and good all the time, we like to say. But it seems that what we want from God is not always what He wants to give us. There are many things happening in the world that just don’t fit into our image of God as being loving and merciful. When our understanding of God doesn’t work for us, neither do our prayers. Praying for peace can be discouraging if we expect to see a grand global event, and it never comes.
Peace comes to us more quickly when we humbly admit that “God knows best.” Prayer helps to transform what is wrong in the world into what is right. It gives purpose to the darkness that seems to threaten us by giving us hope in a new light. Could this be why we have been placed in a world where our only real hope is in our prayers to God?
Jesus spent a lot of time in prayer. He prayed for His own needs so that He could help us. He prayed for our needs so that we could help others. He teaches us that through prayer, all things are possible and that we are never alone. Prayer, as an act of faith, strengthens our resolve to overcome anything that comes along in our lives.
When we humble ourselves in prayer, it becomes the most powerful thing we can do. When we ask for God’s help in this way, it helps us become the best we can be.
Jesus gives us the parable of two people coming before God in prayer. One proclaiming his own self-importance, the other acknowledging his need for help. One feeling he has done all he needs to do, the other admitting that his work has just begun.
When we admit that we need God’s help, we then open the door to God working in our lives. When we accept that we are a work in progress, it helps us accept others as members of the same process. Then when we see the patience and compassion that God has with us, we begin to afford it to others. This is how the peace that we seek comes into the world. One prayer, one person at a time.
Prayer is intended to strengthen our belief in God’s goodness, that this goodness is at work within us. Through prayer, this world, with all its challenges and troubles, becomes a perfect place to learn about God’s love and forgiveness, a place that increases our desire for His eternal peace. Where the tragedy of our human failings is transformed into our greatest triumph, one humble prayer at a time. May God’s peace be with you as you ponder this food for thought. Blessings, MJ xo