There are many verses from Sacred Scripture that can fill us with hope. It is the story of our salvation so it should bring us an abundance of joy, peace, and contentment. In the day-to-day struggles of life there is one verse that I particularly gravitate toward. "So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9)
I find immense comfort in knowing that God encourages me to come forward with my requests. However, there have certainly been those moments when I felt a deep sense of frustration with seemingly unanswered prayers. I could not understand why God was choosing not to honor the promises so clearly articulated in the Bible. It was during one of those moments when I stumbled onto another verse providing some context. “You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions.” (James 4:3)
Years ago when I was diagnosed with a serious medical issue a fellow parishioner posed a simple question to me. “Are you still praising God?” This was a question that forever changed my prayer life. I no longer rush right into all of my petitions when I enter into prayer. I begin with adoration simply because God is! I then spend time in praise and thanksgiving because I recognize that my entire life is a gift from God. This prompts me to express sorrow for my sins as I recognize that I fail in living up to the glory of God. Finally, it is at this point that I can humbly place my petitions before God Almighty.
It is still a challenge to wait patiently on the Lord. God’s timing is perfect. Mine is not. I also recognize that my life of prayer is still far from the ideal. Thus, I continue to seek the grace of our Lord, Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit as I move forward on this pilgrimage of life. This reminds me that everything will be okay. “In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” (Romans 8:26)