Establishing An Intimate Relationship With God
Sirach 48: 1-14; Matthew 6:7-15
In the reading from Sirach, Elijah was sent by God to inflict retribution, for the people led by Jeroboam lived in sin despite numerous warnings. Famines were sent upon them. For those who were faithful to God, it was a glorious event, but for those who lived in sin, it was like the Final Judgment.
In the old Testament, God was more direct with us, but we couldn’t understand His wisdom and ways. Although people in those days were lucky to have seen God’s awesome power by witnessing endless first-hand miracles and unexplained events that transpired in their lives, everything could have overwhelming to them, and they did not understand God the way as we do now, through Jesus and His teachings. Despite all the miracles they have experienced, and all the guidance that they got through Moses and the other prophets, they were quick to resort back to their sinful ways. God saved them countless times, and while many may have believed in Him at some point in their lives, many took Him for granted, shortly after they have been liberated. He was a god of convenience to many, whom they only turn to when they need help in desperate times.
Jesus taught us that in praying, there is no need to be repetitive on your requests, for God knows your deepest desires. From the prayer that He taught us, I understand that we should pray for the more important things in a spirit of true openness, like praying from the deepest recess of our hearts, such as accepting our faults and limitedness, asking for forgiveness, recognizing God as our Father and our dependence on Him, His guidance, and his blessings. In addition to this, we should also pray that His good will be done, instead of our own, for with God, everything is good. Jesus literally taught us how to pray by providing us the Lord’s Prayer, word for word.
In Matthew 6:14-15, Jesus further says that if you “forgive other their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” If you have done something wrong, realized it after, made a vow of restitution, and acted on it, then The Father will forgive you as well. For those who stay cold-hearted to people who have not forgiven their transgressors, who also live a sinful life devoid of any sign of guilt and shame, God will take corrective actions (to “wake them up”) and do the same to them, just like in the Old Testament.
The lesson here is be humble, and know that God has everything that you will ever need in this world, and in the world thereafter. He made you, and He knows you better than anyone else. Believe in His goodness and reflect His goodness to others. In praying, do not make demands of God, no matter how tough life gets. Always remember that He is our Father. If you can respect your father, then you should also respect Him. He is all-knowing and all-good, There is a good reason why you are not getting what you pray for. Perhaps you are being directed to focus somewhere else much greater. His time is not our time. He has a different timeline. He answers prayers in His time. If your heart belongs to God, all you have to pray from the heart, with humility and in total acceptance, and practice being loving and forgiving to others, so that your prayer may speak the truth about you, and hold much weight to God. Otherwise, it is as light as a feather and meaningless to God.
The reward of those persistent in prayer is a fulfillment of something deeper. It is tuning in to the Hand of God that guides us, an alignment with His will, a life of unbroken connection with Him who knows exactly what we need, even before we do.