By Brooke Holt
“Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” Proper 22, The Collect, Book of Common Prayer, p. 234
When you think of prayer, what do you envision – a person kneeling in church or beside the bed, a group of people gathering around the bedside of one inflicted with illness or injury, or do you imagine the priest praying for you and the congregation each Sunday? Whatever you envision, it is good. The Lord loves it when his people pray – in church, in groups, individually, and corporately.
Throughout the years, I have heard a Christian adage which says we pray for our sake, not for God’s. These words do not honor God’s heart for you in prayer. Look at the prayer of today’s The Collect: “Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray”. The Almighty God, eternal and infinite in power and understanding, is ready and eager to hear your prayers. He longs for you to come to him with your thanksgivings, petitions, fears, questions, etc. He hears all of it, and he cares about it all. He, your heavenly Father, loves you beyond your comprehension.
As your heavenly Father he delights in caring and providing for you. The Collect then says God is more ready to give and “to give more than we either desire or deserve”. He is an extravagant God! As a parent, I love to give good things to my children. It brings me joy to bless them and to then see their joy. The Lord feels such joy for you.
Consider your prayer life, the time you invest in prayer, your posture in prayer, and how you feel about bringing yourself before the Lord. Then pray through today's Collect again asking the Lord to increase your propensity to prayer and your expectation of God hearing you as well as responding to you. He certainly will not give you everything you request as he is far too wise. The Lord not only longs to bless you but also to protect you. Remember, he is your heavenly Father who has a perfect perspective.
Trust him, talk to him, and bring the fullness of your thoughts, feelings, and needs before him today.
What is your posture in prayer? How much time do you invest in talking to your heavenly Father throughout the day? Maybe he is inviting you to some extra prayer time today. We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Advent is like celebrating a national holiday in a foreign land — like observing the 4th of July as an expatriate. Locals do not understand the fuss. Advent is equal parts cherishing and missing home. AND it’s a mix of loving this world while getting ready to leave it behind. This makes Advent the most human and most complex celebration we have. Isaiah the prophet, David the psalmist, Paul the apostle, John the Baptist, Mary, Joseph, and Jesus all lived in one world and longed for the next. They loved this world and loved the world to come even more. In these 28 devotions in Face the Dawn, join them in wearing the paradox of Christianity- this world may be our home, but that world is HOME.
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