How are you doing on those New Year’s Resolutions? It’s April, and if you’re anything like me, they have probably melted faster than the snow. Oh, truth be told there are a lot of reasons why we’ve forgotten those self made promises back January 1. One that I even may have quipped “That’s just not gonna work for me.” We make lots of excuses, none good or worth the breath yet, still, we make them. How about our prayer life? Do we make such excuses for that as well? 2018 has been named the “Year of Prayer” here at St. John’s. It’s time for a gut check. How are we doing? We’ve heard what prayer is, even studied the Lord’s Prayer during Lent and Easter. Let’s take a look at what prayer isn’t this month.
Prayer is not magic. We cannot summon God as though He were a genie, waiting to grant our wishes without regard for our circumstances or the consequences.
Prayer does not make demands. While we can make requests of God in prayer, we dare not make demands. God is the Creator of the universe and does not take orders from us.
Prayer is for our benefit, not God’s. We need a relationship with God, available to us through Jesus Christ and engaged primarily through prayer, because we were made to function best when we are in a proper relationship with our Creator.
Prayer is not a guarantee against suffering. “In this world you will have trouble” (John 16:33); “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when His glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12-13).
Prayer is not an opportunity for us to show off. “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men” (Matthew 6:5).
Prayer is God’s gift to us by which He encourages us to remain connected to Him as the branches are connected to the vine. He knows our frailty, our excuses, our faults and still welcomes us to come to Him as a child to their loving parent. He places His holy name upon us calling us His own. He seals us through the waters of Baptism, in His kingdom in heaven as we live in His kingdom on earth. His presence with us conforms our will to His as He shows us and gives us everything we need for our daily lives. He gives again and again His undeserved love and forgiveness while reminding us to forgive others in the same way. He supports us in all trials and temptations the devil, the world and our sinful flesh place in our way. He places the crown of victory on our heads that He won over the powers of evil and delivers us to the great multitude that no one can count. We have the joy to give Him all honor, glory and praise along with the angels, archangels and whole company of heaven forever and ever. Amen!
Serving Christ with you always,