The Tiger's Eye: Prayer and what to make of it.

27 May 2006

Prayer and what to make of it.

The commentary of today’s scripture was:

Whatever you ask the Father, he will give you in my name.

Every time I speak about prayer, it seems to me that I hear in your heart certain human reflections that I have often heard, even in my own heart. Since we never stop praying, how come we so rarely seem to experience the fruit of prayer? We have the impression that we come out of prayer like we entered into it; no one answers us with even one word, gives us anything at all; we have the impression that we have labored in vain. But what does the Lord say in the gospel? Stop judging by appearances and make a just judgment. (Jn 7 :24) What is a just judgment other than a judgment of faith? For the just man shall live by faith. (Gal 3:11) So follow the judgment of faith rather than your experience, for faith does not deceive, whereas experience can lead into error.And what is the truth of faith other than that the Son of God himself promised: If you are ready to believe that you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer, it shall be done for you. (Mk 11:24) Thus, may no one among you, Brothers, consider prayer to be a small thing. For I assure you, the one to whom it is addressed does not consider it a small thing; even before it has left our mouth, he has had it written down in his book. Without the slightest doubt, we can be sure that God will either give us what we are asking him or he will give us something that he knows to be better. For we do not know how to pray as we ought (Rom 8:26), but God has compassion on our ignorance and he receives our prayer with kindness. So take delight in the Lord, and he will grant you your hearts requests. (Ps 37:4)

Saint Bernard (1091-1153), Cistercian monk and Doctor of the ChurchSermons for Lent, no. 5, 5

To this I would comment as our Pastor taught two weeks ago; in order for our desires to be answered, our prayers have to be made from the center of Gods will for our lives.

Often we find ourselves happily living our temporal lives with the thinking that because of our belief in God ergo we must be in his will for our lives. This thought then causes us to pray “in his name” thinking our wishes will be automatically granted only to find they are not. Why not then? If not in his will are we are asking selfishly; not placing our lives in his great soft powerful hands but rather proudly thinking that we are capable of governing the small ships that are our lives in that great stormy sea of life? While as St. Bernard points out; our Lord still hears our prayers he also in his infinite wisdom knows that sometimes our prayers if answered might or quite possibly would draw us away from his will for our lives. Having our prayer automatically answered might focus our limited vision upon the result of OUR efforts rather than the glory of his kingdom and the portion of his grand plan that we can see in our limited vision.
Isn’t the ultimate goal of our faith one of walking along hand in hand with our Lord, fully trusting in his wisdom to choose the path we tread knowing that he will never guide us into the brambles and rocks?