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Jesus taught and shows us how to pray


markdohle

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Jesus taught and shows us how to pray
 
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8 NIV
 
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People will often ask me after quoting from Matt 7:7-8, why their prayers are not answered. There are no simple answers to that question. For instance: “The prayer was not answered because you lacked faith, or did not knock hard enough. Or “The reason for the silence is that God does not exist”. Both statements are silly and short-sided.
 
Jesus did teach us how to pray when he gave us the Our Father prayer. In this prayer, we ask that God’s will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Anything we pray for that will be harmful to us, or others, will not be given. If we pray for an outcome that someone’s freedom will have to be taken away, again, it can’t be given. For instance one day a woman emailed me about 22 years ago to pray that her ex-boyfriend will come back to her and that his relationship with another woman will be ended. We are free I responded, God does not take that away.
 
If the will of God lines up with our will, then our prayer will be answered, but not always. Again, we are also praying that God’s will be done. Prayer is not magic, though it would seem that many on an unconscious level believe that to be true. Magic is not prayer, but a way to control powers that are otherworldly. When praying for God’s will to be done, we are not seeking control or power, but union with the will and heart of God.
 
Right now I have no doubt that billions are praying for world peace. Grace is always given, but the human heart must respond. If we are not a peace ourselves, how can we pray for world peace?
 
Jesus prayed for the cross to be taken away from him. Something he desired, yet he also stated: “not my will be done, but Thine be done”. All of us will face tragedy, pain, and suffering, along with joy, love, and some happiness. Like Jesus, we will have to go through it, how we respond is up to us. Do we take deep root in God, do we believe that God is with us, do we like Jesus see it to the end? Yet there was no end, for Jesus rose from the dead.
 
There are no simple answers, and when we seek a simple solution, that is when we hit the wall and may even lose our faith. God is not a magic man in the sky as many atheists accuse Christians of believing in. If we do, one day we will have to let go of that childish notion that God will always protect us from the outrageous fortunes that befall all men, women, and yes often, sad as it is, on children.
 
When we pray from the heart, our ability to endure suffering increases because our love of God grows and there is healing, even if it is not often understood or felt.
 
 
Romans (5:3-5) 3Not only that, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, whom He has given
 
When our lives are united to the life of Christ Jesus, we begin to learn what St. Paul meant when he said: “it is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me. Galatians 2:20”
 
We cannot be disappointed when we drop childish ideas about God. Experience flows from faith. God’s faithfulness and love are given freely, but we have to open up our hearts. Suffering is a part of life, an important aspect even if very unpleasant. We are called to take up our cross and follow Jesus.-Br.MD
 

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