Are you one of those thinking prayer is efficacious only when it is "hot", "rigorous" and "full of emotivity"? And then you feel a man of God must "do these" over you before you feel He has prayed or God has answered it. On this 17th day of our Lenten observance the Lord wants us to understand prayer. If you are found on this line of thought, then you still need to understand prayer! If you're still in doubt read slowly...

Cf 2Kings 5:1-15
...Elisha sent him [Namaan] a messenger to say [to him], ‘Go and bathe seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will become clean once more.’ But Naaman was indignant and went off, saying, ‘Here was I thinking he would be sure to come out to me, and stand there, and call on the name of the Lord his God, and wave his hand over the spot and cure the leprous part. But his servants approached him and said, ‘My father, if the prophet had asked you to do something difficult, would you not have done it? So he went down and immersed himself seven times in the Jordan, as Elisha had told him to do. And his flesh became clean once more like the flesh of a little child.

1. The first hindrance to EFFICACIOUS prayer is your expectations or disposition: how you want it to be and not how God wants it to be. Naaman would have missed his blessing if he clung to his expectations or dispositions. The efficacy prayer is not dependent on physical, psychological or emotional qualities we bring into prayer but a function of persevering faith.

2. "How God wants it to be" could be sometimes unreasonable according to our judgement- unreasonable as Namaan saw in his case. The will of God could also be difficult or hard as Jesus felt at Gethsemane (Matt 26:42). But "letting God do it" is always better than "helping God do it" because we cannot help God but can only cooperate with God, with faith and confidence that God's way is sure.

TASK: This Lenten season make it a point of prayer to end your prayers reclining to the will of God, saying: "May your will be done in my life Lord. Amen"

© Fr. SimOne Madu, OSJ

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