Today’s Gospel: Matthew 7:7-12
“How do we ask for things?” I reminded my 4-year old daughter for the umpteenth time that day.
“Mommy may I please go in the backyard?” she asked.
“Well, I’m making dinner, so you will have to ask Daddy to go out with you,” I explained, “and he can say yes or he can say no, but the choice is his, not yours and you have to be OK with either answer, all right?”
This conversation is typical in our house with a 5-year old, 4-year old and 2-year old. As I read today’s Gospel, I was struck at how easily one could take it as a magic formula: I ask God for something and He gives it to me. Except we know that God and prayer don’t work that way.
Prayer is a conversation with God and prayers of petition are certainly an important part of the conversation. However, our prayer conversation is incomplete if we only utilize this single form. The other forms of prayer – thanksgiving, intercession, praise and adoration – along with petition work together to develop our relationship with God. It is important to realize the other 4 forms of prayer encourage us to grow in our understanding of our true needs and how we ask for them to be fulfilled.
We give thanks for what we have been given, rather than focusing on what we do not have. We intercede for others, recognizing that their needs are just as important as our own. We offer praise to God for His goodness and mercy. We adore God, acknowledging our complete reliance on our Creator. In this light, our true prayers of petition are found. And most importantly, we learn how to accept the will of our Father as the fullest answer to our prayers.
What is one prayer form you would like to grow in this week that will help you petition God in a deeper, more meaningful way?
Dear Jesus, thank you for the gift of prayer and thank you for modeling the ultimate prayer of petition in the garden before your Passion. Please open my heart so that I can learn to ask for God’s will to be done in all things.
Copyright 2017 Kate Taliaferro