Thursday of the First Week of Lent
(Click here for readings)
Jesus said to his disciples: “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; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Call upon the Lord. Take a deep breath and pray. Call upon the Lord. He, who knows all things, knows you. He knows what you should be asking for…and deep down so do you.
The Lord wants you to be holy. “Be holy, because I am holy” (Lev. 11:45).
What should I be praying for? It’s noble, right and just to pray for an end to war, terrorism, poverty and corruption. But if we expect things to change for the better, then we better start praying to God that we change. What should you be praying for? You know. Take a deep breath and pray for it.
Ask and it will be given to you. Do you ever wonder why your prayers don’t get answered?
One day (a long time ago) my best friend complained that he wasn’t feeling well. He looked so bad I took him straight to the emergency room. After being in the ER for hours, he finally came out with a prescription in his hand for some antibiotics. I asked him what was wrong? He told me he had an STD. I couldn’t believe it! “Seriously?” I said. “Of all people, you?” [I said this not because he was holy, but because he was ugly. College students can be brutal.] I continued, “I thought you were serious about your girlfriend.” He looked at me and told me he hadn’t been with anyone other than his girlfriend.
“Wait”, I said. “You haven’t been messing around?”
“No! Not at all,” he said. “And now I have to tell her I gave her an STD.”
I looked at him and I could tell he was visibly shaken by the news. He wouldn’t – couldn’t – bring himself to admit it. So I did it for him.
“You know what this means, right? You do realize you didn’t give your girlfriend an STD. She gave it to you!”
For a minute there I thought he was going to kill me. His face turned beet red and his hand turned into a fist. I quickly told him to relax, and that if he didn’t believe me then he should ask his doctor. He did. Then he asked his girlfriend. She fessed up. She had cheated on him. My friend immediately ended his relationship with her. Now in all fairness, maybe it was the girl of his dreams that ended their relationship. But maybe in all reality it was the ugliness of sin (betrayal) that ended their relationship.
Sin has a way of preventing our most fervent prayers from being answered in the way we would like them to be.
Is the opposite of praying, sinning? So…if you’re not praying, you’re sinning? Hmmm…I don’t like that. But maybe there is some truth to it. I do know that sinning can happen to the best of us, which means all of us, and that, regardless of our religion, profession or vocation, praying can help avoid sinning. I for one know that I am not praying enough.
The command “ask and you shall receive” works at both ends of the ladder: upwards and downwards; towards holiness and towards sinfulness. When we sin, we’re asking for trouble. When we pray, we are asking for His grace.
Ask and Do. I find it very interesting how the words “ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened” are followed up with: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you.”
This Lent, let’s not just ask for an end to abortion, terrorism and/or war, but for a change of heart, a new heart. I am sure we will receive what we ask for. But according to God, the best way to get His attention – to be taken seriously – is by treating others the way we would like to be treated.
And let’s not forget this includes God. (0)