Friday, February 13, 2015

Believe: The power of prayer

Yes…the answer to a prayer sometimes comes in disguise, but it always comes. And when it comes, we must learn to acknowledge it and be grateful. It is easy to remember God when we are going through a hardship; then we approach Him and intensely ask for help. But when things are good, we tend to forget to thank Him. Oftentimes we forget that gratefulness is important, and we end up not giving the glory and praise that is due to God. To remember to say thank you is important, because in doing so, we make ourselves aware of the gifts that are constantly given to us, we feel blessed, and we truly understand God’s awesome love for us.

Let’s pray, so that:

Ø  We can be less selfish, desiring to be givers instead of receivers: We must get rid of “I want! I expect! I deserve!” and think “What can I give both to others and to God?” After all Scripture says that it is more blessed to give than to receive! Now many times when we think about giving, we think in terms of giving money. But sometimes the most precious thing that we can give or share is not material. Oftentimes what is most valuable for us is in fact what is most precious for us to give.   For example, we can share a friend. Let’s have a desire to share those special people who have come into our lives, so that they may go and touch others in the same way that they have come into our lives and touched us!

Ø  We can find joy in every situation: “Consider it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials, for you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).  Mother Teresa used to say, “The best way to show our gratitude is to accept everything with joy”. And that “a joyful heart is the result of a heart burning with love”. We may not always be able to give much, but we can all always give the joy that springs from a heart that is in love with God. Let’s give thanks for all that we have, and have had! Let’s give our best to God a heart full of joy!

Ø  We are not proud and we can surrender totally to the will of God: “Your will be done” (Matthew 6:10). We pray this constantly, but when it is time to apply it to real life events, we have a hard time accepting it. Many times, we want our way, we want what we want, we get upset if we don’t get it, and we cannot even find a reason to be grateful. The fact is that we deserve nothing. We cannot allow ourselves to be disheartened by anything, not even when at first sight it seems that our prayers have not been answered. Mother Teresa also used to say, “If we are discouraged, it is a sign of pride. We must not let anything disturb us so much and fill us with so much sorrow or discouragement that it makes us forfeit the joy of serving God and thanking God in all that happens in our lives!”  In Holy Scripture God reminds us to “Persevere in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving” (Colossians 4:2). As we turn to Him and to His love, we can face everything with an attitude of loving trust. A song I love says: “Jesus knows the heartache that you are feeling deep inside…and He will heal your heart!” So even when it seems impossible to remain cheerful and we barely have the strength to smile, we can draw our strength from Him who is always there for us.  Him, who is our rock and our salvation.

If we do not make prayer and thanksgiving a habit, inadvertently we will have a tendency to become unaware of our blessings. On the other hand, when we are grateful, we feel closer to Him and we become happy as we ponder how blessed we are. Being happy is easy when we understand how much love is constantly being poured our way. The ability to understand this is a grace given by God, and God always gives good things to those who ask.

If we just have a little faith, if we trust a little more, if we are just a bit more grateful, we will be aware of all the miracles that happen in our lives. And we will take pleasure in the fact that we have come to know and understand that God is a reality and not a myth. We will feel God, alive in our heart, not just as words in a book we hardly ever read. He will bless us with the desire to get to know Him more through the power of His holy Word. We will marvel at the fact that He is living inside us, guiding us and providing strength to us in every situation, so that we may reflect His love to others. We will be able to console because He has given us consolation; we will be able to love because He has given us love. Then we will be examples and living proof of the miracles that He performs in our lives.

Wisdom to contemplate:

“Everything is possible to one who has faith.” (Mark 9:23)

“Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.” (Mark 11:24)

“Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing.  In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

“O LORD of hosts, happy are those who trust in you!” (Psalm 84:13)