Let love be genuine; hate what is evil, hold fast to what is good; love one another with mutual affection; outdo one another in showing honor. Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints; extend hospitality to strangers.
Reflect and Pray:
I learned from my own experience that when we give up on prayer we miss out on the joy, peace, and hope that comes from a strengthened relationship with God. Yes, when we begin to pray and we persevere in prayer because we are in a love relationship with God whether we get what we want or not, God strengthens us in our relationship with God and we have the conviction that we can overcome all things if we place everything in loving hands. That is how God’s peace, hope and joy abides in us. Our loving relationship with God, and not our long lists of needs and wants, is what really enlivens our life of prayer.
One of the powers of prayer is that the encounter with God changes us. As Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans, “Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God.” Prayer is about changing us, not about changing God. It is about changing us, so we can change the world. Prayer opens our hearts to the needs and struggles of others, to our own limitations, and to our own need for God. Prayer opens us to the work of the Holy Spirit in us and through us in ways that aren’t necessarily rational or obvious, except maybe we all get it that, whenever you spend lots of time with someone, it changes you. When we spend lots of time with God, it changes us. That is why we pray.
Why do you pray?