The story is told about a man who dreamt that he died in a car accident. When he woke up the next morning, he immediately went to the bank and withdrew all his money. Why? Because the slogan of the bank was: “We make your dreams come true!”
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In today’s Gospel (Lk. 11, 1-13), Jesus teaches us that prayer, persistent prayer, can make our dreams come true. Jesus Himself admonishes us to pray without ceasing, “for everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
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Our present-day consumerist world, which looks for instant results and quick-fix solutions, would ask: Is there a technique, a method, or perhaps even an application that I can use so that my petitions can be answered surely and quickly? The only prayer the Lord taught us is the Pater Noster, the Our Father, wherein He encourages us to ask, but this is premised on trust in God’s will. In other words, prayer is not like slipping coins into a vendo machine, which automatically delivers the commodity we desire.
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Would prayer be like playing a slot machine? Is prayer then just a game of chance? In a way it is, but a slot machine is or can be programmed or manipulated. In the realm of prayer, in the realm of grace, only God is in control. We can only trust, believe, obey, and be hopeful. What is good to know is that there is someone who is listening, who sees everything, and who knows everything. What is really good to know is the God we believe in is a Father who is understanding, loving, and forgiving.
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“Please pray for me. I am tired of trusting in God. I have held on to Him all these years, but He has abandoned and forsaken me.” This is one of the saddest text message I have ever received. It is filled with hopelessness and despair. Yes, it can happen that we will come to the lowest and darkest moment of our faith. Even Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?!” It is precisely at such moments when praying is at its best. Have you ever cried with your God? If you have, then you know what real prayer is all about.
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Sharing with you this beautiful prayer: “Lord, sometimes, when I cannot pray, I sit very still with nothing to say. Nevertheless, I know You are there, and I whisper Your name because I know You care. You know the troubles in mind. You know my weaknesses and the failures in my life, and at times, my doubts, worries, and fears. I know that Your spirit is with me, and that You will never leave or abandon me, ever. And so in the silence of my heart, I will listen only to Your sweet voice, hear Your tender but true words, and feel your living embrace. In You alone will I put trust and my faith, and surrender everything. Amen.”
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Years ago, I composed this prayer and song. I have sung and prayed it through the years, especially in difficult moments of my life. It is my constant song and prayer now: Lord, you can make it tough, but don’t make it impossible/You can make it hard, but God, please make it bearable/Lord, hear my prayer, and wash away all my fears/In all these pains, I suffer/You love me and You’re near/Your love, Your love, is all that matters. And the Lord says: “My child be brave! Be not afraid! I love you, I am near!” Lord, You can make it tough, and You can make it hard/enough for me to know, I am loved/Yes, Lord, You can make it tough, and You can make it hard/Enough for me to know, I am loved.
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Only through prayer can we say with St. Paul: “We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” (2 Cor. 4, 8-9)
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When through one person a little more love, goodness, and joy has come unto the world, then that person’s life has had meaning. One such person is Ramon Tabuena Jimenez, who has gone home to his Creator at the age of 89. He and his wife Flor were a very prayerful couple with a deep devotion to the Blessed Mother, and who raised a prayerful, loving family. When I asked about the three lemons on the coffin of “Tito” Ramon, the children, including Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez, told me that it was a happy secret that only their parents knew, and which they never revealed.
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The Divine Word Institute of Mission Studies in Tagaytay City now offers graduate courses in missiology (STLL, STD) for religious, priests, theologians, missionaries, catechists, and religion education teachers of Asia and the Pacific. For inquiries, please call +63-46-4131253 or e-mail Ldwims@gmail.com.
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A moment with the Lord:
Lord, teach me to pray, and never cease to pray. Amen.
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