Who would do that? Certainly not me. I would have the gift opened before the friend even made herself comfy. If the gift happened to be a bottle of wine, the top would be popped and glasses poured before we’d finished with our initial greetings. Like gifts, prayer should be gratefully received and not left unopened or unused. This week’s reflection will focus on The Gift of Prayer section in Walk in Her Sandals written by Pat Gohn.
Gifts are Meant to be Used
When I was a child, my mother would wrap every single item in our Christmas stocking. Opening each individual present was what I looked forward to the most about Christmas; I enjoyed it so much I continue that tradition today with my own children. This is how I have experienced prayer in my life — as many small gifts. The first prayer gift to be unwrapped was opening up a more frequent line of communication with God. This came after reading St. Paul’s words in 1Thessalonians 5:16-18, which reads:
pray without ceasing;
in everything give thanks;
for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
Inner prayer time is not the only discipline I needed to develop. Pat asks the reader to consider both the gift of prayer and the discipline of praying. Interestingly, discipline means “to teach” and has at its root the word – disciple. Teaching myself to dedicate time each day for prayer would certainly make me a better disciple. As I worked on building prayer time into my daily routine, I quickly learned that my priorities were often out of order. Not that my duty to feed the children and having clean undergarments aren’t important, clearly they are. However, when I put God first, even if it was only five minutes before starting into my daily tasks, the spiritual benefits were quickly felt.
Waiting on an Answer from God
The waiting was very difficult. My sons and I prayed the Divine Mercy Chaplet every day at 3 pm to help us grow in trusting the Lord and His plans in this unusually long travel delay. Although I will never know this side of heaven, exactly God’s plans, we were given a few glimpses. First, if we had traveled to China when first matched, the odds of being quarantined due to the Swine Flu Epidemic were nearly 100%. Second, during a frequent visit to our Parish’s Adoration Chapel where I prayed for my daughter and for comfort and peace in the waiting, I had this strange thought. Perhaps, I thought, this isn’t about me at all. Faith had been with her foster family for three years; maybe, they just needed a little longer to help them let her go.
When we were finally allowed to retrieve our daughter from China, I was handed some paperwork that provided a little information about her life in the foster home. The report included sleep habits, her favorite meals, and explained the close bond she had with her foster father. Sometimes the waiting has a purpose and a plan that has absolutely nothing to do with you – at all.
So Why Pray
As the Prophet Isaiah instructs us:
“For My [God] thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts.”
All Rights Reserved, Allison Gingras 2017
First Appeared as the WINE Lenten Book Club Sunday Reflection
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