Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

March 17, 2011

Mandy Widegren

Freshman, Biology Major with Pre-Dental Focus

Est C: 12, 14-16, 23-25
Ps 138:1-2ab, 2cde-3, 7c-8
Mt 7:7-12

God Can Supply Anything to the Righteous Who Seek His Purposes

Like many little kids, when I was young I wanted a pony. I was taught in my religious education classes that God answers prayers, so every night I prayed and prayed for that pony. I never got one. It was easy for me as a young child to point fingers at God and blame him for not giving me what I asked him for. And even as a young adult I have pointed fingers at him – why did my grandma get sick when I prayed for her health? Why did I not get a bigger scholarship to this college when I prayed for the means to go there?

Sometimes it’s easy for us to think that God is ignoring our prayers, yet we know from Matthew that this is not the case. God answers our prayers and gives us what we need. Yet God, with his infinite and perfect wisdom, knows what we need and what we don’t need. He may not give us every single thing we ask for, like my pony, because what we ask for might not be what we need at the time or might not be according to his perfect plan. (A perfect example of this can be seen in the movie Bruce Almighty which shows how bad things could be if God granted us every desire we prayed for).

But God will not withhold gifts from those who desire and seek what is right. When I prayed for guidance about which college to attend, he gave me guidance. When I prayed for strength to get through a difficult time, he gave me his love and grace. Our Father will watch out for our true needs and will answer our prayers. And he will always answer our prayers; sometimes we just don’t recognize it. Like the saying goes, “God answers prayers in three ways:  he says ‘yes’ and gives you what you want, he says ‘no’ and gives you something better, or he says ‘wait’ and then gives you what you prayed for.” No matter what, God is always looking out for our best interests and will answer our prayers according to his perfect plan – we just need to trust him. And the beautiful thing is that in order to receive all that, all we have to do is pray.  Like it says in Matthew 7: 7-8, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds and to him who knocks it will be opened”.

During this Lenten season we are called to take a little time out of our busy lives to sit in silence and pray to our Lord to ask for whatever we need to help us through these 40 days. We are called to question ourselves: Have we ever wondered whether or not our prayers have gone unanswered or unheard? Have we taken time out of our day to sit and pray to God? And have we truly prayed to ask our loving Father for what we need?

Our God is a loving Father who operates on a principle of reciprocity. As it says in the last verse of today’s Gospel in Matthew, “so whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets”. We must do good to people in advance of their doing good to us, trusting in our Lord that he will reward us later. God is our perfect example of giving; we must follow his lead by giving others whatever they need – whether it be a gift of time, talent or treasure. How we treat others reveals our character and in turn our eternal destiny with Christ. Today we are called to live out the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. God calls us to treat our fellow man with love and respect. We are called to question: ‘how have we treated others in the past few days? How can we help our brothers and sisters in Christ during this Lenten season? And how have we been an example of God’s love to others?’

Esther’s prayer in the reading today sets a new tone of trusting prayer – she prays to God, acknowledging her weaknesses and acknowledging that without God’s help there is nothing she can do. She knows that she and her people are in God’s hands and she doesn’t try to bargain or manipulate him, she leaves the outcome entirely to him. I know that I personally have tried to bargain with God. I have prayed that if I pass a test I will go to adoration the next day, or some silly prayer like that. Yet these are not the type of prayers God answers – God doesn’t bargain. We are called to look at Esther’s prayer as a model for our own. We are encouraged to ask, search and knock as a way of acknowledging our total dependence on God. And no matter what we’re asking for, we are called to, like Esther, leave the outcome totally in our Father’s hands. We are called today to reflect upon our own prayer style and to pray to God – but we are called to trust in him enough to leave the outcome in his loving hands. As Jesus prayed, so should we:

“Father, not my will but yours be done."

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