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Answers to Prayer: A Follow-up to Why Pray?

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Of course, there are times when we are shocked because our prayer ARE answered, sometimes in an unexpected way, sometimes when we least expect it. Not only is it always a good and joyful thing to praise the Lord, it encourages others to discover both big and little ways that God makes Himself known to us.

I am a cancer survivor of 25 years: breast cancer in 1991, metastasis to lung in 2006, colon cancer in 2005, and ocular melanoma in 2005. So in June I went to one of my oncologists because I had become much more of a stumblebum than usual, I had frequent headaches, I found a bony abnormality on a rib near where the original breast tumor had been, and I couldn’t get rid of a cough. And I could not walk a straight line (the kind of test they give on side of highway with DUI cases) in her examining room,  so she ordered a CT scan like I’d been having since 2005 and an MRI.

I left her office with the possibility of either Multiple Sclerosis or brain tumor hanging over my head while I waited for the results of the tests. With my history, I figured MS would be the best I could hope for.

I did attend a special healing service at my parish, which just “happened” to be scheduled a few days before the tests. But, because I no longer drive at night, I had to leave before the laying on of hands or individual prayers. As I walked out, I silently told God that I was ready for whatever He wanted in my life, but at that point, I didn’t expect much.

Several days later, I steeled myself as I heard the door knob turn and I knew Dr. Kramer was coming in to explain the lab, scan, and MRI reports to me.

But when the door opened, she danced into the room almost laughing as she said there were no problems. The scans showed no change in three years and the MRI revealed absolutely no problems. We talked and laughed and repeated ourselves for about 1o minutes. It was one of those occasions when the news is so overwhelming and so good that even educated, articulate people just babble happily with each other.

As I drove home, I thought about my score: Kaye, 4 and Cancer 0, even though two of those cancers were Stage 4. How can I possibly measure up to such an abundance of grace?

I invite any reader to continue this saga by reporting your own answers to prayer in the comments section. Please.


Why Pray?

 

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If God knows everything about us, especially all the things we need, then why should we waste our time praying?

We pray because prayer benefits us like nothing else.

  • Prayer develops our relationship with God, just as all close relationships develop through communication.

  • Prayer opens our minds and hearts to understand God more fully, especially His expectations of us.

  • Prayer keeps us from being too self-centered

  • Prayer teaches us to appreciate other people in our lives and to understand how important they are to our well-being.

  • Prayer helps us understand more deeply how much God cares for us.

  • Prayer gives us direction about choices and changes we need to make.

  • Prayer coaches us as we grow in the virtues, which are necessary if we are to live a happy life.

  • Prayer enables us to love other people.

  • Prayer renews our spirits so we can face the challenges in our lives instead of running away from them.

  • Prayer provides calm in the middle of a crisis.

  • Prayer connects us with a powerful God who loves us and eagerly wants to help us

  • Prayer improves everything.

PEACE

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And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body;                 and be ye thankful. Colossians 3:15 KJV

Peace is just another five letter word unless you’ve struggled with anxiety, unless you’ve suddenly awakened in a panic wondering how you will be able to survive one more day in the mess you find yourself in, or unless you put on your glasses to search for the light at the end of the tunnel, but find only blackness no matter how hard you squint your eyes. It is a positive good, not just the absence of conflict. Indeed, real peace is possible in the midst of uncertainty and conflict.

Peace is a pearl of great price the we can only acquire from God Himself. We might acquire it when we have made the difficult, but good decision or done the truly loving deed. Once experienced, we long to live in that peace again and we joyfully let go of bad habits and preconceptions into order to feel it again.

The peace of God is the perfect high that all people pursue. Unfortunately, most of us seek it in the wrong places and in the wrong way, totally unaware that God hardwired us to seek it through Him. Although sexual fulfillment is a wonderful gift from God to all husbands and wives who wholly give themselves to each other, it is not the ultimate high. The peace of God is a greater, more lasting high that is readily available to all: married, single, old, young, educated, illiterate, rich, or poor.

Seeking the peace of God propelled Mother Teresa into the streets of Calcutta to joyfully care for the  abandoned ones, the untouchables. She herself said that she wouldn’t do it even for a million dollars, but she gladly did it for the love of God even when the rest of the world watched with disgust, curled lips, and disbelief. She and the many people who followed her into her ministry from all over the world were the happiest people one could ever find.

Perhaps we anxious ones could learn a lesson from her. . . .

 

ROMANS 15:13   May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.

 I THESSALONIANS 5:23-24   Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [that is, separate you from profane and vulgar things, make you pure and whole and undamaged—consecrated to Him—set apart for His purpose]; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete and [be found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 HEBREWS 13:20-21   Now may the God of peace [the source of serenity and spiritual well-being] who brought up from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood that sealed and ratified the eternal covenant, equip you with every good thing to carry out His will and strengthen you [making you complete and perfect as you ought to be], accomplishing in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

II PETER 1:2    Grace and peace [that special sense of spiritual well-being] be multiplied to you in the [true, intimate] knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord.

COLOSSIANS 3:15   Let the peace of Christ [the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him] be the controlling factor in your hearts [deciding and settling questions that arise]. To this peace indeed you were called as members in one body [of believers]. And be thankful [to God always].

The last group of  quotations are from The Amplified Bible.

 

Where are you, Kaye

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In Genesis, God calls to Adam, asking him where he is. This was a generous opportunity for Adam to repent, but like mot of us, he refused the opportunity. Instead, he started making excuses and passing the buck.

Today is Ash Wednesday, when the Church lovingly asks all Christians, “Where are you?” During the Ash Wednesday services, we are reminded to “Repent, and believe the Gospel.” Then we leave to go home and start examining our lives again to see where we need to repent or change and how we can become believers who follow our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ ever more closely.

My dear Heavenly Father, please help me to let go of those stupid little habits that I cling to for comfort and to more fully cling to, rely on, and appreciate your Son. Thus, I shall learn to love You more deeply and fruitfully. In the name of Jesus, Amen

  • Handmade “Old Rugged Cross” by Suzanne Fairweather

The Angelus – F.I.N.A.L.E

 

Or: Those Crafty Priests Win Again

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  1. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary and she conceived by the Holy Spirit.

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!”. . . .  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. . . . “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; Therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God. Luke 1:26-28, 31, 35

In other words, God’s words are fruitful and creative when we are open to them and willing to allow them to work in our lives. It’s good to remind ourselves of this every single day; it helps us stay on track.

  1. Behold the handmade of the Lord. Be it unto me according to Thy word.

And Mary said, “Behold, the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word . . . .” Luke 1:38

We are all servants of God. Each of us owes everything we are and everything we have to Him. The least we can do is to allow Him to lead us according to the designs He had in mind for us before we were born.

  1. And the word was made flesh and dwelt among us.

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John 1:14

The creative Word of God becomes real in our lives and through us, Jesus’ love works wonders in the world around us, just as it did when He walked the earth in the flesh.

In between each of these Bible verses, we pray a Hail Mary, asking her to intercede for us, just as we ask friends and relatives to pray for us and our needs. Interestingly enough, most of the Hail Mary is also straight from scripture.

Again, from Luke 1:28 And he (the angel Gabriel) came to her and said, “Hail, (Mary) full of grace, the Lord is with you!”

From Luke 1:41-42 we get “ And when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and she exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb,(Jesus)!”

Then we add the ending where we ask Mary to pray for us during the only important times in our lives – now at this very moment of time and at the time we approach death and our eternal life.

“Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death.”

And now, I repent of my foolish lack of interest in that dull old Angelus that was so terribly boring. Instead I now relish this way of praying and meditating on the scripture that brings to the front of my mind the importance of closely following Jesus and His Word several times a day.