Father James Swanson, LC
to podcast version here.
a village where a woman whose name was Martha
welcomed him. She had a sister named Mary, who sat
beside the Lord at his feet listening to him
speak. Martha, burdened with much serving, came to him
and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister
has left me by myself to do the serving?
Tell her to help me." The Lord said to her
in reply, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried
about many things. There is need of only one
thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will
not be taken from her."
Introductory Prayer: Lord
Jesus, you are the master of the universe, and
yet you wish to listen to me and guide me.
You know all things past, present and future, and
yet you respect my freedom to choose you. Holy
Trinity, you are completely happy and fulfilled on you own,
and yet you have generously brought us into existence.
You are our fulfillment. Thank you for the gift
of yourself. I offer the littleness of myself in return,
knowing you are pleased with what I have to
Petition: Lord, help me to learn how to
1. “More Things Are Wrought By Prayer
Than Your Philosophy Dreams Of.” Many good people see
prayer as a weak thing that really doesn’t help. So
they put their effort into doing great projects, into
doing as much as they can to bring about good
in the world. This is a good thing. But
prayer is essential. Even if I manage to involve
thousands of others in my project, I will still not
accomplish as much as when I get God involved.
Getting God involved through prayer is the first and
the most important thing to do if we are going
to accomplish anything. As King Arthur says to Sir
Bedevere in Tennyson’s Morte d’Arthur, “More things are wrought
by prayer than your philosophy dreams of.”
2. Persevere in Prayer
with Love: Many critics of prayer complain that they pray
a lot, but it doesn’t seem to do any
good. Well, there are a couple of things to say
about that. First of all, there needs to be
love for God in my heart. God needs to be
someone familiar to me, a friend. In asking for
a favor, I expect to get a greater response
from someone I know, someone who is close to me,
than from a stranger. Imagine if there was someone
I barely knew, and the only time I saw
him was when he needed a favor from me. Would
I be inclined to give him what he needs?
Second, I need to persevere. Like the Canaanite woman who
asked Jesus to cure her daughter, I have to
persevere in prayer when things are difficult. Her perseverance
increased her faith, and in the end it got her
what she wanted. If I persevere in prayer with
love, I will get all that I need.
3. Cooperate with
God’s Plan Instead of Insisting on Your Own: I need
to remember that every prayer has its effect. How
often am I disappointed when I don’t get what
I’m asking for? Am I open enough in my prayer
to let God work as he wants; to follow
his plan and not mine? Do I force him to
refuse my request by making it so narrow that
there is no way to incorporate it into his plan?
Even if I don’t see the results of my
prayer, that doesn’t mean God is not listening. God
always rises to the occasion and will often do something
a lot better than what I wanted him to
do. He does what is best for me, even if
it does not entirely conform to my plan. I
may never know or realize – in this life –
the specifics of how God listened to my prayers.
It takes faith to accept this.
Conversation with Christ:
Dear Lord, whatever project I undertake, help me to
remember to start it with prayer, pray while I
am doing it, and finish it with prayer. I want
to be close to you like Mary. I want
to serve you like Martha. Help me to find the
right order and balance in my life.
Resolution: When I consider the biggest thing I am
doing for God today, I will be sure to ask
him in prayer to bless it.