Day 8, Thursday, March 1, 2012
Jesus’ wilderness gave him plenty of time in solitude. He made the best of this solitude by fasting and praying. Now prayer is a discipline that Jesus practiced all His life even in the midst of His very hectic ministry schedule. At times, He spent whole night in prayer seeking the will of God (see Luke 6:12-16; Matthew 14:23). His last night on earth, before Jews crucified Him, was spent in prayer in Gethsemane (see Matthew 26: 36-46; Mark 14: 32-42; Luke 22:40-46). Even when His chosen disciples could not stay awake, He continued to pray.
Prayer teaches us complete dependence on God. Prayer is not just asking what we want from God because Jesus said, “for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8). Rather, prayer is a precious time of communion with our Creator. Prayer is cultivating an intimate relationship and a meaningful conversation with God. More than asking, it is focusing on Him and listening from God about what He has to say to us. Every time we pray, we’ll find God is always new and different and yet the same who does not change in His essential nature. However, we will realize that prayer can move God—even an unchanging God can be moved by our prayers to show mercy and compassion and to give us what we’re seeking. Therefore, in every prayer, God calls us to be renewed, to take our fears and anxieties away, and to trust in Him completely. However, in every prayer God is also asking us to respond to the call of serving His people around us. Prayer doesn’t necessarily mean that we spend time with God instead of spending time with our fellow beings. “Rather, it means to think and live in the presence of God. As soon as we begin to divide our thoughts into thoughts about God and thoughts about people and events, we remove God from our daily life and put him in a pious little niche where we can think pious thoughts and experience pious feelings” (Henry Nouwen). So instead of coming to God in prayer, it should become an unceasing way of living a Christian life.
Let’s pray and confess today: Lord, most of our life I spent time in prayer begging for gifts I want. Forgive me Lord, and teach to focus on you, the Giver of gifts and to pray unceasingly. Amen.