The focus is 18 of Jesus' toughest teachings, including CHALLENGE Pharisees, DO GOOD to those who hate you -- and of course Seek the kingdom first - don't worry about food and clothes and drink.
It is this last one that inspires today's guest post by Diane Marrapodi, CSB. How easy it can be to let prayer slip into a wishing/wanting session. But as Diane says, "There’s more than a hot dog for you" in the prayer that seeks to know God as the Love that is loving you in very practical ways.
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To this day I am very fond of Linda, a mom who constantly displayed a marvelous sense of humor. Midway through a swim meet she’d say to her terrific husband, “Bob, I’d really like a hot dog”. And with a regal wave of her hand she'd add, “Make it so." Bob, with a chuckle, always got up from the bleachers, went to the concession stand, and brought back a hot dog.
Every once in a while in the public practice of Christian Science I hear just such requests. Oh, not for hotdogs, of course, but for other things: entrance into a certain college; the desire for a specific spouse, house, move, job, - all for the purpose of getting something thought to be essential to happiness. But is the most efficient prayer really to tell God what we want and then to ask God, with a wave of our hand, to “make it so?"
Don’t we all remember a time when we prayed for something specific and didn’t receive it? Perhaps some time later we saw the folly of our request and the wisdom of not receiving that for which we asked. The best motive for going to God in prayer may not be so much to get something that we think will complete us, as it is to awaken to our nature as His beloved child and to His perfect plans for us.
Those verses remind me that while I can always pray “on the run” - in the car, at the grocery store - consecrated prayer also requires something more. We need to "go apart" sometimes, - maybe not physically, but certainly mentally, - to completely set aside the wishes and desires and cares clamoring for our attention - to be still and watch for fresh views of what God is doing for His creation. This devout prayer is not so much an asking as a listening and yielding to God who loves us and has our best interests at heart.
God is Love. (I John 4:8) Divine Love made you, knows you, loves you, and maintains your every step. Can you even now imagine the effect of going deep in prayer on this fact and keeping it before thought throughout the day? Why, it would comfort you, eliminate fear, enable you to see yourselves and others as the child of God, and open the door to abundant good. Harmony, peace, well-being is spiritually natural and normal. The prophet Isaiah said, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (26:3)
Further on she writes, “Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality. Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” (261)
A prayer of absolute faith in what is possible to God and that springs from an understanding of God as Love, doesn’t involve wishing and wondering what you’ll get. It involves becoming aware and acknowledging the ever-present Love that is loving you, and Love’s will of divine good for you and for each one of His children.
Will there be results? Trust me on this. There’s more than a hot dog for you in this kind of prayer.