4th Week of Lent
Exodus 32:7-14;Psalm 106:19-23; John 5:31-47
Moses implored the Lord. (Exodus 32:11)
“Can God make a rock that is so big that he can’t lift it?” a father asked his daughter, as they left Mass. The little girl puzzled over the question for a minute before answering, “Oh, Daddy! God doesn’t lift rocks. He gets the angels to do that stuff for him.”
Today’s first reading brings up a similarly puzzling question. God is angry, ready to destroy the Israelites because of their idolatry. But Moses steps in and talks him out of his decision. But how can an eternal, unchanging God change his mind? What a mystery! It’s something we may never understand. All we can say with any confidence is that Scripture gives us story after story that illustrates the power of intercessory prayer.
Think of Abraham, who negotiated with God to spare an entire city if only a few upright people could be found there. Think of the various women who could not conceive children but whose prayers made them fertile. Even Jesus told us to be persistent, even to the point of annoying God with our request (Luke 18:1-8). Evidently, our prayers really can move God!
But how do we get to the point of praying with any confidence? One way is to follow Moses’ example and spend time getting to know God. Become familiar with the way he loves you—and all his people. Open yourself to him so that you can experience how wide his mercy is. Reach out to those less fortunate than yourself so that you can see how God’s heart is moved by the needs of his people. As you get to know him, you’ll find yourself pressing him in prayer, persisting until you see something change.
Look at your schedule for today. Do you need to rearrange a few things so that there is room for you to spend time with the Lord? If so, do it! And in the long-term, get into the habit of writing down whatever you sense God is saying to you in prayer every day—even if it is just a Scripture passage. Over time, you will find that you are not only learning about the Lord, you are getting to know him. And like Moses, you too will feel emboldened to lift up your needs because you know he is listening.
“Father, we trust in your love. Lord, hear our prayer!”~WAU