A Season of Lent in Prayer
I came cross this recent reflection on the nature of answered prayer by Virginia Ramey Molenkott in Speech, Silence, Action! She shares:
“Most of the discussion of prayer I had ever heard centered on whether God answers prayer and how we can know that God does. But during the past decade I have come to believe that prayer is not a matter of my calling in an attempt to get God’s attention, but of my finally listening to the call of God, which has been constant, patient, and insistent in my inner being. In relationship to God, I am not the seeker, the initiator, the one who loves more greatly. In prayer, as in the whole salvation story unfolded by Scripture, God is reaching out to me, speaking to me, and it is up to me to learn to be polite enough to pay attention. When I do have something to say to God, I am rendering a response to the divine initiative. So the question of whether or not and how God answers prayer now seem to me bogus questions. God speaks, all right. The big question is do I answer, do I respond, to an invitation that is always open.”
This moves us more from a discipline or spiritual exercise to an answer of the call. Prayer might simply be something we do each day to offer our insights on the world that God created, rather than pausing to listen with intent to the One who is the Initiator. Maybe this Lenten season we will not be discerning how many prayers God answers for us but how we might answer God’s prayer.
The Psalmist writes: “What are human beings that you are mindful of them, mortals that you care for them?” (Psalm 8:4) As we explore what it means to be a member of the body of Christ – the church – may we also discover the call God offers to us to be part of the larger Christian community and the prayer that God is reaching out to us through Jesus Christ – the head of the church!