Sunday, July 27, 2014

What Do You Pray For?

“The Lord appeared to Solomon in a dream at night.  God said, “Ask something of me and I will give it to you.” (1 Kings 3:5)

What do you pray for?  When you sit down or kneel down to pray, what is it that you want the most from God?  In today’s first reading, God gives Solomon the equivalent of a divine blank check when he tells the young king to ask for what whatever he wants.  Imagine if God approached us with a similar offer.  How would we respond?

Very, very early this morning, I went up to Davie for the first Mass of the season as Dolphins Training Camp is now underway.  I asked the players and coaches the same question: what do you pray for?  Many people tell me to pray for the Dolphins, and I do.  I pray for the coaches and their families, for the players’ safety and health.  The thing is people tell me to pray for the team to win because if they don’t win it’s because I am not praying hard enough.  Does this make sense to anyone?  Like if God didn’t have anything better to worry about than the outcome of a game.  So like Solomon, we have to put thought into what we ask of God.  We need discernment.  There are far bigger things that warrant our prayers:  the war in Gaza that’s tearing up the Holy Land, the persecution of Christians in Iraq, Syria, and throughout many countries in the world, the situation in Ukraine, the influx of innocent immigrant children into our country…this list could take up several pages and this one was just from this morning’s paper.

So we need to be like Solomon who realizes that as a young king he’s (a) in over his head and (b) needs outside help to govern this vast people.  So he asks for wisdom.  He asks for the ability to discern right from wrong.  This is what each of us needs to ask for.  We must kneel before our Lord and implore him to give us what HE thinks we need and not merely what we want.   This is maturity in the spiritual life.  And once we reach that maturity, we’ll be asking the Lord to discover that treasure in the field that Jesus talks about in the gospel.  That treasure is the Kingdom and all its peace and all its joy.  Once we find that treasure, we don’t ever want to let go of it.  People who have a genuine encounter with Jesus Christ don’t want to let him go kind of like Mary Magdalene who clung to him when she saw that he had risen from the dead.

Today we come before the altar of the Lord with many prayers.  May we add one more to that list and ask the Lord for us to be as wise and discerning as King Solomon.  That way we may seek the Lord’s will in our lives constantly and always walk in his ways.  But I want to leave you with a question to ponder this week:  If the Lord approached you as he did Solomon, and told you to ask for whatever you wanted, how would you respond?