Sunday, June 16, 2019

Listening And Silence in Prayer

In a bulletin for priests, a retired priest writes about his experience with prayer in the pastoral life of a parish. One of the families in the parish community prayed for the promotion of their father and husband, an army officer. Everybody united in their efforts to secure a promotion. Unfortunately, the next year the husband failed to advance, disappointment was great, and the attendance at church stopped.
One young mother was depressed because of the illness of their young son. It was not a serious problem but she prayed the rosary and became a member of the Legion of Mary. She did not find the praying easy and was hoping it would help her son. However, after many months and no results she gave up her prayers. Surprisingly many people who are disappointed in their prayers of petition abandon  their faith life. 

When everything goes along smoothly believing is easy. However, difficult things happen and life has its 'shocks', "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune," which for many can help the faith life grow and for others a reason for distancing themselves from God. God is no longer present.

We need to live the life of prayer, communicating with our heavenly Father; faced with difficulty we ask for help. However, God is a God of love and is always giving and it doesn't depend on the words we utter and the way they are said but our disposition in receiving. The belief that God is a personal God is important. Prayer is a conversation with God and  conversation requires speech but it is important to listen. We talk and listen to what God will say to me in this situation. Think about God's Word in the Bible and seek to find and accept God's will. Some say in great pain, they were grateful because they gained strength through prayer to overcome difficulties.
Followers of Jesus have confidence and faith that God loves them and is leading them. Faith means confidence in God without giving up even if we are in difficult straits and unable to understand.

"My thoughts are not like your thoughts, and my ways are not like your ways" (Isaiah 55.8). God loves. We are often trying to live according to the material and worldly values with which we daily encounter and forget the direction that God has for us. God wants us to enjoy life to the full. We often misunderstand what this means. We don't try to change God's will but to change our wills so that we can receive all that he wants to give. Prayer is mostly to change ourselves so we can receive.

When there is no interest in the spiritual values that Jesus teaches, and stay only in the asking mode for blessings— 'give me' religion— and not concerned with giving there is no difference from the faith in shamanism and superstition. A child, in the beginning, knows only to ask from parents, gradually the child grows and learns the love and the spirit of the parents and becomes mature. Our faith must also develop and mature.

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