READINGOld Testament: Lamentations 2:1-9
Psalms: Psalms 55, 74
New Testament: 2 Corinthians 1:23-2:11
Gospel: Mark 12:1-11
Evening Psalms: 74
DEVOTIONALFor the first few years of our marriage, my wife and I commuted together in our lovely northern Virginia traffic. One evening, while making our way through downtown Alexandria, a car made an extremely aggressive and dangerous move, cutting us off, and I leaned on the horn to express my alarm and outrage. A police car appeared instantly from an alley and pulled the offender over! Yes! Victory for the Righteous! Bless the Magic Horn! (Of course, the Magic Horn has never worked quite so effectively since, but we only use it sparingly.)
As I read today’s readings, particularly Psalm 55, I was struck at first by how whiney we must sometimes sound to God. “God, Hear Me!” I picture a toddler having a tantrum, foot stomping, “God, hear me NOW!” It says that we don’t trust Him to decide which prayers need immediate attention. “God, MY prayer is marked Urgent and For Immediate Action.” To top that, we go on and tell Him what action to take – “Strike this foul creature down.” As if our prayers were a Magic Horn, designed to immediately result in the action that we think is best.
As I reflected on the readings, I realized how often my own prayers must sound like so much tooting on the Magic Horn.
Lord, please fix this problem for me…
Lord, please punish those responsible for some evil…
Lord, please let me win a billion dollars in the lottery because that will fix all my problems.
Well, I think that when I am being truly open to His guidance and honestly embracing His love for me and His desire for me to share that love, the prayers go a little differently. I don’t ask Him to change others, I ask Him to fix me.
Please give me the courage to face my fears.
Please give me the grace to forgive those who have wronged me.
Please give me the strength to help those in need.
Please give me the vision to see all the beauty you have created.
Please help me know and share your love.
During these final days of Lent, and always, may I strive to make my prayers more like these. Amen.