Thursday of the First Week in Lent
Today’s readings reiterate to us the power of prayer. We hear of Esther who begs the Lord to come to her rescue. In the psalm we sing “Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.” And finally, in the Gospel, Matthew reminds us that what we are to seek and to knock and then the Lord will respond. We cannot escape the message that God answers our prayers!
Have you ever been talking to someone and then you can very clearly tell they have stopped listening? How do you react? Often I think this leads us to shut down - to stop talking to them – why waste our breath? When I think of this example I wonder, which person am I?
I think many of us feel like we are the person talking and God is the one who has stopped listening, so we start to tell God less and then eventually shut God out completely. But I wonder – could it be the other way around? Could it be that God is the one trying to talk to us and we are the ones who have stopped listening? The big difference here is that God does not get defensive and frustrated and stop talking to us. God instead continues to share Himself with us, revealing God’s nature to us, moment by moment, and we are the ones who have to take action and begin to listen again.
I would like to hope that we can all think of at least one, and hopefully many, examples of when God answered a prayer for us. Think of some of those times today. Pray about them. Thank God for them. And then reflect on this - when we know that God is listening, why then do we find it so hard to commit to daily prayer? Why then is it a challenge to carve out that time to purposefully talk with God?
It may be that we are too busy, perhaps we don’t want to hear the answer that God has for us or perhaps it is like we had talked about at the recent marriage retreat – perhaps we have fallen out of knowing with God. When we are not intentionally committing time to get to know God better, we are not seeing who God truly is, and we therefor lose sight of God’s work in our lives or perhaps can’t hear His voice at all anymore.
Today and throughout this Lent, recommit yourself to prayer. Take part in the discipleship challenge. Go to adoration. Go on a retreat. Intentionally make time to talk to God! And at the same time, be prepared to listen for God’s answer – not a passive hearing of what God has to say, but an active listening. And finally – thank God. Thank God for always listening, even those times where we have stopped talking.
- Amanda Grimm