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February 12, 2018 - Prayer: Getting Back to Basics

Monday of the Sixth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

Trials and testing produce perseverance. Afflictions invite joy and gratitude. And, regardless of 'signs' or objective evidence, personal faith grows. Today's Scriptures, so closely interwoven with similar themes, challenge us to reflect upon our present spiritual circumstances. With only a few days before the season of Lent begins, it's the perfect time to 'get back to basics', especially when it comes to prayer.

Today's passage from the Letter of James says, 'ask (God) in faith, not doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed about by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord, since he is a man of two minds, unstable in all his ways." (Jas 1:5-8) The passage from the Gospel of Mark relates these very familiar words of (an exasperated) Jesus, "Why does this generation seek a sign?"(Mk 8:12) We must ask ourselves: Are we truly approaching God with faith or has our daily prayer become rote, routine, or habit? The Responsorial Psalm (119) may well represent a near perfect prayer. In these very few verses, the psalmist manages to speak of personal affliction, faith, hope and gratitude, as well as God's kindness, compassion, and omnipotence. Not only that, but all five forms of prayer (adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, supplication, and praise) are included. Perhaps more important is the deeply personal and deeply genuine disposition of the pray-er. And it echoes exactly the prayers Jesus offered to his Father. 

May we always remember, approaching the God of Creation in prayer is a gift; were it not for the grace of God, none of us would even conceive of it. It takes work daily just as any relationship we have. It requires faith, perseverance, and ongoing renewal. May we see the Lenten season before us as a chance to reinvigorate our lives of prayer…in the name of Jesus. Amen.

-Gail Lyman