Thursday, October 9, 2014

Keep knocking!

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you."
Luke 11:9
But, what if it doesn't FEEL like you're getting what you asked for? What if your prayer seems to be going nowhere?  What if there is only silence on the other end? And, another one of my burning questions: does our prayer actually change God's mind?  Was God all set to do one thing and our prayer causes God to actually do another?  These questions drive me crazy (not a drive, just a short putt).  But, seriously.  What I have come up with, at this point in my spiritual journey is this: God wants to be in relationship with us.  Prayer is relationship, because we are communicating with God when we pray.  We may feel silence on the other side but that is just like the neighbor in Jesus' story today (Luke 11:5-13). Our persistence in prayer is the key to our prayer.  We continue to knock, even if no one seems to be home. Does God need our prayer? No, but WE need our prayer.  We need to be able to do something when difficulties arise.  We need to have a way to move out of ourselves and seek an answer.  We need to turn to Someone bigger than us.  It's a relief to know there is Someone bigger than us, that we aren't in charge of the universe and that the universe doesn't revolve around us. So, does God ultimately change an unsavory situation when we pray?  Possibly.  But mainly, God changes us.  God works inside of us, inside our hearts and minds.  And the change seems real.  The situation may be the same, but we are different.  And the change is real.  Love, heidi

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Teach us to pray...

"Free us from selfish interest and self-inflicted burdens..."
Prayer request in "Give Us This Day"
Cha Ching!  That is exactly what I need to pray today. The disciples ask Jesus in today's Gospel, "Teach us to pray..." (Luke 11:1-4) And, if Jesus were to answer me that question, this prayer from Give Us This Day would be the answer. Jesus taught us to ask for what we need in prayer.  And I desperately need to be free from selfish interests and self-inflicted burdens.  That is the "Me" I bring to prayer today.  Tomorrow may be entirely different, but this is me today. That is why we must pray daily...pray for our Daily Bread.  That is why we must Pray Always and Pray All Ways.  Because we are constantly changing and our requests vary as often. Lord, please keep me tuned into you this day.  Help me to get my selfish interests and self-inflicted burdens out of my mind and heart and help me to concentrate on what you want me to do.  That is the Daily Bread I need from you this Wednesday...Love, heidi

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Transform me, Jesus!

"True faith is not merely an intellectual assent to doctrine.  Rather, it is a process of growth in humility, trust, patience, surrender, forgiveness, and compassion...It is about being transformed into Jesus."
Sr. Melannie Svoboda, SND, "Living With Christ"
This was so wonderful (and necessary) for me to read and think about this morning!  It isn't anything new, by any means, but it is so true.  When we pray "increase our faith" we are praying that Jesus transforms us into himself. Jesus is always happy to do that, but we must be open and willing to be transformed.  Jesus won't transform us against our will.  We need to let go of our own "stuff" and sit  at Jesus' feet, just like Mary in today's Gospel (Luke 10:38-42).  That is, certainly, as Sr. Melannie says, a "process."  It doesn't happen to us overnight.  Today, as we embark on an autumn Tuesday, let's pray for Jesus to come into our lives and make himself at home in us.  Let's take some quiet time and pray for Jesus to transform us and fill us with the humility, trust, patience, surrender, forgiveness and compassion that hallmark a life lived in him.  Love, heidi

Monday, October 6, 2014

The hard stuff. Again.

"But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, 'And who is my neighbor?'"
Luke 10:29
On Pray-As-You-Go this morning, the question was asked which character in the story do you most identify with?  Which character is you?  The Good Samaritan? The Levite? The poor guy who was beaten up?  Or maybe even the guy who asked the question in the first place...the guy who wished to justify himself?  Oh, that is easy.  I'm THAT guy.  I always want to know what I'm supposed to do.  I want to do the right thing, but I want a clear definition of what that is exactly.  And, worst of all, who do I have to love? Be nice to? Care for?  As if there was a limit.  I certainly shouldn't have to be compassionate to THOSE people, should I?  Tell me exactly who I am to care for and I will do that. But let it not be THEM...Jesus gives us the answer we don't really want to hear. Love everyone. Without limits.  Jesus wants us to love the hard ones.  Especially the hard ones.  Criminy.  Love, heidi