Friday, May 29, 2015

whatever you ask for ?

Today we have another of those problematic promises of Jesus

Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.

Really? "all that you ask for"- Most of us know that this is not our experience.  My guess is that many of us have opposite experience. Rarely do we get what we pray for. 

Sitting with this text from Mark 11:24 I found the key in a single word. proseuchomenoi, translated here as "in prayer" 

For most of us the sequence is: we want something, and then we pray for God to give us what we want. 

What the gospel presents here is something quite different. The starting point is prayer.  The "pros" prefix means toward. The idea of this word is wishing, longing for, or even craving, with our minds being turned toward God. It is the kind of prayer in which Jesus engages when he goes off alone, and turns his heart and mind completely toward the Father. 

Jesus promises that what we ask for in this state, we will be given. 

How often are we in this state? How often are we willing to turn our hearts and minds towards God and God's will?  The truth is, more often than not, our prayer is "my will be done" and then we are upset when God doesn't do it. 

In our hectic world, many of us have almost lost the ability to be still, quiet ourselves, and turn our minds and hearts away from the busyness of life and toward our God and Father. The good news is that with practice we can learn how not just to pray, but to truly be "in prayer."