No, this is the view from my kitchen window. I do love that view. We look over a ravine that leads down to a very busy street, but with the trees or without the trees, when the snow is thick, the view is amazing, and it’s in my kitchen that I find a chapel for prayer.
Most kitchens aren’t huge, and my kitchen isn’t either. Yes, I say, “My Kitchen.” My kitchen doesn’t define who I am. My kitchen is a place where I work and find the sacred.
The vine from that sweet potato has been in the same cup since February. It only started to sprout about a month ago. I’m sure, even though it was/is an organic potato, someone, somewhere, sprayed it so that it wouldn’t sprout, but I persevered, changing the water weekly, and now, daily, and the vine finally sprouted.
Last Sunday our gospel at Mass was about persevering in prayer. Our pastor, Father M, gave an excellent homily about peresevering in prayer and the importance of asking God, with faith, frequently, for our prayer requests to be answered.
God stood before Abraham telling him that he would destroy the two most sinful cities, in those days. Abraham asked God if He would destroy the cities if he could find 50 good men in the town. God said that He would spare the towns. Abraham continued to bargain with God. He got God down to 10 people. Sadly, there weren’t 10 good people in the towns, and they were destroyed, in spite of Abraham’s intercession for them. He tried and God did listen to his prayer. However, when the towns were found wanting, God, in His Justice, destroyed them all.
Jesus said several things about prayers of petition and intercessory prayer. He said, “Whatever you ask for in my name…” In my name. The name of Jesus is powerful, it is mighty! And yet, He tells us to approach the Father, God the Creator of all, using His name in petition. There is a certain confidence or faith in that knowledge. God will grant you what you need in the name of Jesus Christ.
This approach to prayer also requires humility for when we acknowledge the name of Jesus as our intercessory, we acknowledge that He, the Second Person of the Trinity, is greater than we are, and that God the Father, the First Person of the Trinity, is greater than we are.
Three keys to interessory prayer: Faith, Humility, and Perseverance.
Father asked us to reflect on how much time we pray at home. Yes, we come to Church, but do we forgo prayer outside the walls of our Churches and Cathederals? He also asked us to reflect on how we pray. Do we pray with our minds and hearts? Do we pray with attention to God and with a great devotion to Him? Father also asked us to reflect on when we turn to God in prayer. Is it only in difficult times that we return to God or do we pray daily with Praise and Thanksgiving for all He has given us?
The Gift of Prayer is a grace from God. We can ask Him for this grace, especially in difficult, dry times. Padre Pio said that Prayer is oxygen for the soul. In order to live, we need oxygen. We need oxygen for regeneration of our cells. If prayer is that critical, turning to God is life giving.
God never promised us that life would be easy or that, in life, we would get all that we wanted. Like a gentle Father, God says no to many of our requests. Why? Sometimes, He simply wants us to grow in faith and love for Him. Other times, what we ask for is not good for our souls or the souls for whom we are interceding.
Like anything else, the best way to return to God in prayer is to simply begin to pray. Pray on the homeward commute. Pray while waiting for a baseball game to end. Let the incense of prayer begin to flow to God who loves you dearly. Let the sweet fragrance of prayer waft up to Him carried by the angels to His Throne.
Loosing the gift of prayer happens. When it does, like the widow who searched and searched for the coins she lost, she returned and searched until she found them. Persevere. Ask in the name of Jesus. Submit yourself to the Will of God. Trust that, no matter what, He has your back, even when you are at your lowest.
God did not spare His Son. His Son suffered a gruesome death for us.
God so Loved the World. He loves you, too.