Thursday of the 1st Week of Lent
March 5, 2020
Ps 138:1-3, 7-8
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
The Prayer made in the midst of life and death with great pain and suffering, just like Queen Esther risked her life before the unjust King, brings deliverance and Victory. Jesus made this kind of Prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane . If we see in both the situations , they surrendered their anguish to the will of God , not my will let your will be done. I remember a preacher in Bangalore giving a Testimony of his survival in the ICU and on Ventilator for four days with no hope of recovery. When Doctors told his wife that it is better to remove the Ventilator because his organs were not responding and it is waste of money , she went to the Toilet and cried out to the Lord saying ” Lord he is doing your work , have mercy upon him and recover him, and suddenly he started responding to the Ventilator and discharged the very next day.
There is difference between a general prayer and a prayer said in great anxiety and distress. The real intercessors experience the pain who are in distress and share their distress in Prayer . If we see in Queen Esther prayer , she surrenders her Body ( Prostrates in fasting whole day), mind( pours out her emotions and distress in Words of prayer) and Spirit ( Proclaims the greatness and love in Worship) as a gesture of complete surrender to the Will of God.
Sometimes our prayers are not heard because they are not prayer requests at all. We pray in selfish motives to satisfy our evil Worldly desires and our loving Father does not grant our requests because they are going to harm our Salvation. When we pray we must check whether our prayers are going to benefit our Salvation. The cause can be anything either political, material, Corporate, Individual , if our requests are aligning to the Plan of Salvation , these requests are automatically granted by default. The Salvation Plan is a complete package given to us to live our life in fullness and we just need to be right with our requests . The Holy spirit is the advocate who checks our petitions whether they are aligned as per the Salvation plan. So sometimes if we are confused what to pray and how to pray , we must invoke the Holy spirit and pray in the language of the Holy Spirit. When we pray in Spirit , our mind does not understand a Word but our Spirit joins with Holy spirit and talks to God. This is a gift of love of God to his children who do not know how to pray , just like a small child babbles before the Mother and Mother understand what the Child is saying or in need.
Prayer of mortal Anguish is not said in anger or revenge or hatred but in love, forgiveness and full surrender. In the Gospel today , the Lord says ask and you shall receive, sometimes we do not get because we do not ask for it. Asking is a quality of a small child which symbolizes complete dependency upon the Authority. When a person comes to a state of independence or self centered, the Pride and selfishness enters him, and he or she can not pray or surrender or ask in Prayer. Pride blocks a person in asking in humility. when we humble and accept all things from the hands of God, prayer or asking becomes easy and in line with the plan of Salvation.
The Gospel says seek and you will find , we must seek the Plan of salvation or mysteries of the Kingdom of God to be revealed to us. I wonder, the Plan of Salvation is a super Computerized and we must only tick mark all the instructions as agreed and the Salvation or Kingdom of God is ours. We must seek the Word of God what the Lord is asking us to do in our life and trust in his Words of Salvation. These words are eternal and these very words give us life, but we must unpack them from the literary format in to our actions, and these very words reveal us the purpose the Salvation.
The Gospel says knock and it will be opened to you, knocking is nothing but an invitation to have a deeper experience of our Lord. Sometimes we do not understand or get what we ask or seek , in these cases the Lord calls us to have a deeper Discipleship experience to dine with him and serve him in his Kingdom.
Prayer builds Faith and Faith builds love , this love of God reveals us all the mysteries of the Kingdom of God and the Plan of Salvation. The Personal Prayer is so important to build this trust, because faith is a trusting relationship and if we do not spend time with our friend , we can not build trust, and if we do not trust we cannot build faith and love. This Faith, love and hope of Salvation drives us to love our Neighbor and ourselves.