Friday, November 1, 2013

How Shall We Pray?

Wednesday's Mass reading from Romans 8:26-30 is a reading that I rely on heavily.  "The Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings . . . ." 

Oftentimes I don't know what to pray for.  The farmers may be praying for rain while the families that have an outing planned pray for clear weather.  Who does God listen to?  Are certain people more important than others so their prayers go to the top of the priority list?  Certainly not.  God hears all our prayers and answers them according to our need. 

We don't always know what to pray for, but God knows is best.  I can give my preferences, of course, of how I want things to be, but it may end up something like this, "Dear God, we could use some rain right now, but could you make it after 7:00 pm and before 6:00 am and only in these certain areas.  I'd like a nice steady rain.  No damage please and make sure everyone has shelter."  There may be certain ways I think things should be, but they may not be the best.  My image is limited. 

I think the story of the kids who sat at their grandma's feet while she worked on some cross-stitching is a good example of how God works.  From the underneath side, nothing made sense.  It didn't look like much of anything.  There was no pattern at all.  From the top, however, was a beautiful design. 

This is much like our life.  Our image may not be clear because we can't see the whole picture.  We don't know how the threads of life are woven together to make God's design.  Our image is limited.  We see only the underneath side while on top the threads are arranged in such a way that it makes a beautiful design.

What should I pray for?  Should I pray for someone to get better or that they have a peaceful death?  Do I pray for someone to get a job?  What if there's a better one right around the corner?  God knows what we need.  I pray simply that God's will be done and that I am accepting of that will.

Help me, O God, to accept your will and not my own.  Holy Spirit, fill my heart and teach me to pray. 

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