The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2015. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
FORMING AN ASK-FORCE
“Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you. For the one who asks, receives.” Matthew 7:7-8
Some ingenuous Bible preachers and teachers have tried to expound on the differences between asking, seeking, and knocking. However, all three commands probably mean the same thing. Jesus is simply and repeatedly commanding us to ask, ask, and ask. Are we getting the message? If so, then why does Jesus keep repeating Himself?
Most of us ask God for a thing or two. Yet it may be that He wants us to ask Him for hundreds or thousands of things. Jesus told His apostles: “Until now you have not asked for anything in My name. Ask and you shall receive, that your joy may be full” (Jn 16:24). The writer of the book of James bluntly stated: “You do not obtain because you do not ask” (Jas 4:2).
Jesus wants us to ask more not because He won’t give without our asking, but because He wants us to communicate with Him more. He calls us to abide in Him (see Jn 15:5, 7), to live in His presence. He does not call us to ask out of selfishness but out of love (Jas 4:3). He wants us to share every detail of our lives with Him. He wants to be our Life (see Phil 1:21; Gal 2:20).
Prayer: Father, this Lent teach me to ask as Your child. Promise: “Save us by Your power, and help me, who am alone and have no one but You, O Lord. You know all things.” Est C:25 Praise: Jesus delivered Rob from the desire to smoke. (To grow in prayer, order our book, Conversion-Conversations. This book is written in the format of daily conversations with God for forty weeks. By faithfully praying the “conversation” each day, you will grow in confidence of God’s personal love for you.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2015 through March 31, 2015.
Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 25, 2014.
The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements
The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2015, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
Do you expect God to hear your prayers? Esther’s prayer on behalf of her people is a model for us. She prayed for help according to God’s promise to be faithful to his people. God wants us to remember his promises and to count on his help when we pray.
Jesus wanted to raise the expectations of his disciples when he taught them how to pray. Jesus’ parable of the father feeding his son illustrates the unthinkable! How could a loving father refuse to give his son what is good; or worse, to give him what is harmful? In conclusion Jesus makes a startling claim: How much more will the heavenly Father give to those who ask!
Our heavenly Father graciously gives beyond our expectations. Jesus taught his disciples to pray with confidence because the Heavenly Father in his goodness always answers prayers. That is why we can boldly pray: Give us this day our daily bread.
Those who know God and trust in God’s love, pray with great boldness. Listen to what John Chrysostom (347-407 AD), a gifted preacher and bishop of Constantinople, had to say about the power of prayer:
“Prayer is an all-efficient panoply [i.e. ‘a full suit of armor’ or ‘splendid array’], a treasure undiminished, a mine never exhausted, a sky unobstructed by clouds, a haven unruffled by storm. It is the root, the fountain, and the mother of a thousand blessings. It exceeds a monarch’s power… I speak not of the prayer which is cold and feeble and devoid of zeal. I speak of that which proceeds from a mind outstretched, the child of a contrite spirit, the offspring of a soul converted – this is the prayer which mounts to heaven… The power of prayer has subdued the strength of fire, bridled the rage of lions, silenced anarchy, extinguished wars, appeased the elements, expelled demons, burst the chains of death, enlarged the gates of heaven, relieved diseases, averted frauds, rescued cities from destruction, stayed the sun in its course, and arrested the progress of the thunderbolt. In sum prayer has power to destroy whatever is at enmity with the good.”
Prayer flows from the love of God; and the personal love we show to our neighbor is fueled by the love that God has poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). Jesus concludes his discourse on prayer with the reminder that we must treat our neighbor in the same way we wish to be treated by God and by others. We must not just avoid doing harm to our neighbor, we must actively seek his or her welfare. In doing so, we fulfill the the scriptural teaching from the “law and the prophets”, namely what God requires of us – loving God with all that we have and are and loving our neighbor as ourselves. The Holy Spirit is ever ready to change our hearts and transform our lives in Jesus’ way of love and merciful kindness towards all. Do you thirst for holiness and for the fire of God’s love?
“Let me love you, my Lord and my God, and see myself as I really am – a pilgrim in this world, a Christian called to respect and love all whose lives I touch, those in authority over me or those under my authority, my friends and my enemies. Help me to conquer anger with gentleness, greed by generosity, apathy by fervor. Help me to forget myself and reach out towards others.” (Prayer attributed to Clement XI of Rome, 1721)