Monday, July 26, 2010

Confirmation I and II: July 25, 2010: The Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Read the Gospel: Lk 11:1-13

Journal: How did you live out last week’s Gospel message? What was tough? What was rewarding?

I remember receiving a prayer request a few years ago from one of my old high school classmates. She had e-mailed my whole graduating class, asking that we all pray for the recovery of another classmate who had just been diagnosed with cancer. I know that, for at least 2 months thereafter, my prayers always included this classmate and his family. He recovered dramatically. About a year later, I received yet another prayer request for another classmate fighting cancer. And I prayed. She died from the disease within a year.
So why did God answer one prayer and not the other? Or, if God answered both prayers, why the different outcome?
This week’s Gospel will help you to understand. Jesus says God doesn’t always answer our prayers by giving us what we want. First, Jesus compares God to a person who gives his friend what he needs. Then he says God will answer our prayers by giving us the Holy Spirit.
What do you expect from prayer? Most of us pray for things we want, but God often gives us something we need—the courage and commitment to do God’s will in tough times. You might want a good grade, but what you need are better study habits. So the answer to your prayer might be a teacher challenging you to work harder. You might pray for God to spare a loved one from an illness. God might answer by strengthening you with the Spirit so you can comfort your sick loved one. You might want a better life for the poor. And God might answer your prayer by calling your attention to an opportunity to serve the needy in your community.
Sure, our prayers might work miracles for others. But more often our prayers work miracles within us. Here’s a challenge. Keep track of your prayers in a journal, and also keep track of possible changes you see in yourself or your life. Talk with your priest, parents or close friend about your search for answers to prayer. See if God makes changes in the world or in you.

Journal: Can you remember a time you were inspired to help someone after praying for him or her? Reflect on this. How did it play out? How did God answer your prayer?

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