Why do we pray?

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Jesus in Pray

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Gift:  Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live.

Reading:  In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.* Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.  (Matthew 6:7-8)

Observation:  In these verses from the Gospel reading from the Mass readings today, we are told that our Father knows what we need before we ask him.  So, why do we pray?  We pray to change our attitude towards our own ability to effect change on the things that have eternal consequences.  I think prayer reorients our mind to things that really matter and do focus our attention on the things that God is already working on.  He will do the work with or without us, but He wants us to join in the effort and God knows, that this effort is the only thing that will bring us real joy through his eternal grace.

Personification:  Joy  It is my intention today to display the fruit of joy that comes from agreeing with God in his eternal plan of salvation for us all.  This joy only comes when I realize that everyone is called to this eternal plan of salvation, regardless of where they are beginning.  Like me, everyone starts from a place of imperfection, or it could be said that we all start with our need of forgiveness, but if we act with a repentant heart at all times, we are able to receive the grace we need to be saved.

Prayer:  Jesus taught me to pray like this:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

(I realize that God knows what I need, and I hope that I can see clearly to forgive those who may do me harm or has done harm to me in the past, so the Father will show me that, through His Son’s death and resurrection, and His grace, I am worthy of forgiveness too.)

Recognize God as Father, call his name hallowed…

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Jesus is considered by scholars such as Weber ...
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Gift:  Understanding – With the gift of understanding, we comprehend how we need to live as a follower of Jesus Christ. A person with understanding is not confused by all the conflicting messages in our culture about the right way to live

Reading:  He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come.  (Luke 11:2)

Observation:  So, I did some research on the word, “hallowed” this morning.  Besides listening to the video reflection from the USCCB website, which was very good, I also listened to an old Iron Maiden song called, “Hallowed be thy name“.  Father Rick from the video reflection said that Luke’s gospel reminds us that we are simply called to keep God’s name holy, by living out the gospel in our lives.  Contrast that to the British metal band, Iron Maiden, complete misinterpretation of scripture, to play on the natural angst that resides in all of us.  Take this verse from the song for example:  Someone calls from a cell God be with you.  If there’s a God then why has he let me die?  To me, it just shows that Saint Jerome was right when he said, “Ignorance of scripture, is ignorance of Christ.”  The song and their misinterpretation of the words comes from the lack of proper instruction in praying.  For Saint Paul said in his letter to the Philippians, in the 1st chapter, 21st verse, that for him to live is Christ and death is gain.  If we are going to say the words that Jesus gave us to pray, we should make an attempt to really understand what they mean in the light of the rest of the salvation story.  Don’t get me started on the “Your kingdom come” part of the prayer.  (I will save that for another day!)

Personification:  Gentleness  I hope that I was able to display the fruit of gentleness in my leading of the communion service this morning.  I did explain further that Jesus used the words; “Your kingdom come” immediately after the words that tell us that we should remember that God’s name is hallowed.  I see it as a reminder that we should look forward to his kingdom coming, as much as we remember that his name has already been made holy.

Prayer:  Lord, help me remember the meaning of each of these words, as I pray:

Our Father, who is in heaven.  Hallowed be your name.  Your kingdom come.  Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. 

I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

Those who cause others to sin, who are in the church…Be careful!

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Late 3rd century/early 4th century Christians ...

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Gift: Knowledge – With the gift of knowledge, we understand the meaning of God’s Revelation, especially as expressed in the life and words of Jesus Christ. A person with knowledge is always learning more about the scriptures and Tradition.

Reading:  The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will collect out of his kingdom 21all who cause others to sin and all evildoers. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. 22 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears ought to hear.  (Matthew 13:41-43)

Observation:  I spend a lot of mental energy worrying about those who would lead the people of God astray in the church.  I am hearing this morning the call of Jesus telling me to let it go.  Jesus is saying that he has this taken care of.  Of course, it is my hope and prayer that God would take them out of positions of authority in the church now, and make sure they do not cause any more people to sin by their false teachings.  However, I am resolved to let God take care of this issue, just like everything else, in his own time. 

Personification:  Faithfulness  It is my hope that without fail I can show a complete faithfulness to the sacred tradition of the church and the Word of God so that the righteous that our Lord mentions in today’s Gospel reading that shines like the sun in the kingdom of our Father, can include me.  It is only by the grace of God that I will stay away from evildoing, so I will rely on God’s grace today and everyday to keep me from sin.

Prayer:  Lord, continue to place your protection around your church and I will try to bring as many people to meet you in the church as you place in my path.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

You will focus on where you spend your money…Darkness or light?…Your choice…

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Darkratos Light&Darkness

Darkratos Light

Gift: Wisdom– With the gift of wisdom, we see God at work in our lives and in the world. For the wise person, the wonders of nature, historical events, and the ups and downs of our lives take on deeper meaning. The matters of judgment about the truth, and being able to see the image of God.

Reading:  14The lamp of the body is the eye. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be filled with light; but if your eye is bad, your whole body will be in darkness. And if the light in you is darkness, how great will the darkness be.”  (Matthew 6:22-23)

Observation:  Today, I am hearing that Jesus is making it clear that wherever my money is, that is what I will focus on.  The imagery of the eye being sound, which filled the body with light, and the bad eye that caused the body to be in darkness was tough to see at first.  The 23rd verse brought it all together because it says if the light in you is darkness, which means to me that if the earthly possessions that money can buy me, are the only things that make me really happy, how dark is my future when the money runs out?  (See verse 19 – same chapter in gospel of Matthew)

Personification: Self-Control  I think the Word is revealing to me this morning that the key to self-control lies within the concept of money.  I don’t know that I completely understand it yet, but I am feeling like if I can get a handle on how and where our money is spent, and make sure it is predominately going to build up His kingdom, and not mine, I will be well on the way to allowing God to take control of every other aspect of my life.

Prayer:  Our Father, who is in Heaven, Holy be your name.  Your kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.  Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

How can we talk to God?

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Jesus says, that if we feel like we need to say words, these will do just fine…Our Father, who is in heaven…Holy be your name…Your kingdom come…Your will be done…On Earth as it is in Heaven…Give us this day our daily bread…Forgive us our trespasses…As we forgive those who trespass against us…Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil…Amen!

God knows what we need before we ask it, but when you feel like you need to say something…Say these words of the “Our Father” prayer, and you will be led to express what is His will for you!

Come, holy Spirit…Amen!

The Word of God will not return void…

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Blushing from shame...

Gift:  Fortitude (Courage) – With the gift of courage, we overcome our fear and are willing to take risk as a follower of Jesus. A person with courage is willing to stand up for what is right in the sight of God, even if it means accepting rejection, verbal abuse, or even physical harm and death.

Reading:  So shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it.  (Isaiah 55:11)

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Look to God that you may be radiant with joy and your faces may not blush for shame.  (Psalm 34:6)

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your kingdom come, 7 your will be done, on earth as in heaven.  (Matthew 6:10)

Observation:  From Isaiah to the Psalms and on through the gospel of Matthew, the three verses that I chose today from the readings are ones of hope for the immediate future.  As I am constantly reminded from reading the Word of God and in my dreams, I must stay focused on God’s Word and not the word of man.  I am hearing today that if it is my hope that God’s kingdom comes and that His will is done in my life, I must keep looking at Him and not at the world.

Personification:  Joy  I will choose to focus on the fruit of joy today.  Not only because of the verse from the responsorial Psalm today, but also because it is truly my hope that if others see the joy in my face they will begin to see the hope that comes from the Good News of Jesus Christ.  Jesus said that he is the way and the truth and the life, and I hope my life can be patterned after his.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.  Please help me to be radiant with joy so that I do not ever have to blush from shame.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.

I can’t get distracted by etymoligies and definitions…

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Statue "Fear of the Lord" by Karin J...

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Gift:  Fear of the Lord (Wonder and Awe) – With the gift of wonder and awe (fear of the lord), we are aware of the glory and majesty of God. A person with wonder and awe knows that God is the perfection of all we desire: perfect knowledge, perfect goodness, perfect power, and perfect love.

Reading:  Give us each day our daily bread  (Luke 11:3)

Observation:  I feel like I should see this verse as speaking directly to me today.  I should be asking the Lord to provide for my needs and the needs of my family.  I should not be looking for an alternate meaning for this verse, which is what I did before I came to the conclusion that I should not be doing it.  The research that I did left me with the feeling that the true meaning could not be seen by looking at the origins of the words.

Personification:  Humility (Gentleness) – An inner strength that permits us to be aware of our own abilities without having to make a show of them.  Once again, I am humbled by the awesome power of the Word of God.  It is my desire to be able to display this humility today and for the rest of my life, by listening to the Word from now on, and not always looking for a convenient meaning behind certain words.

Prayer:  Lord, help me to stay true to your Word.  Please continue to help me to accept the truth that is clearly visible when I do not try to over examine your Word.  I ask this, as always, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit.  Amen.