Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
I've been asking the Lord for the same thing for almost 20 years now. Persistently, without fail. I always think of this Gospel passage and then want to whine to the Lord and say "am I not being persistent enough?"
I'm sure He loves the whining. I'm also always sure to say "I've been so good recently. I'm going to Mass most days of the week. I pray the Rosary. I'm nice to people."
Because this prayer hasn't been answered, does that mean that God doesn't hear me? No, I don't think so. Is He punishing me because of all of my whining? I sure hope not. Do I need to be a better person before I will be rewarded with a yes to my request? Nope, that's not how it works.
I've been watching The Good Place and discussing it a lot recently with friends (the only show on tv that's all about ethics!). One of the things they talk about on the show is the moral philosophy concept of moral dessert. What's that? Well, it's not made out of chocolate, that's for sure. Moral dessert is the idea that if you do good things, you will get good things in return - like the concept of karma.
So, does the Lord only answer prayers of those people who do good things? A heavenly dessert for those who have eaten all of their heavenly vegetables? No, that's not how it works.
The Lord answers our prayers in a way that brings us closer to Him. In ways that refine our soul and prepare us for Heaven. All good things we receive from the Lord are intended to draw us closer to and deeper into His will for us.
So is He refining my desire to be only for Him? Yes, I believe so. In another place of the Gospel He says, "you don't receive because you don't ask or you don't ask rightly."
So how do we ask rightly? I've come to see that "asking rightly" is ensuring that what I'm seeking is in line with His will for me. It's also ensuring that I'm not making an object out of what I'm asking for. If the "thing" I'm petitioning the Lord for has become more important than the Lord in my life, then it will not bring me closer to Heaven. Not right now at least, not until my desires become more rightly ordered.
Petitioning the Lord isn't a science experiment, though. It's a relationship. We are in relationship with Him. We are told to be persistent, persistent in pursing a relationship with the Lord, persistent in striving to do His will in our lives, persistent in sharing His love with others. It is in this persistence to do His will, love Him more, share Him with the world that we will receive all that we ask for.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
How often do you fall into the struggle of believing that God only listens to the "good people," or that He's not listening to you? Does it ever turn you away from prayer?
What is something that you have been praying about for a long time now? Has getting your prayer answered become more important than your relationship with God?
How can you refine your desires while still persistently asking the Lord for His help?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Help me put You first."
"I need You."
"Thank You, Lord."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Today, spend some praising God for all the gifts He's given you. Think of all the prayers, big or small, that He has answered out of His love for you. After spending a good amount of time in thanksgiving, offer your petitions to God, trusting that He loves you and hears your prayer.
Smartphone Lock Screen
The following image is here for you to save and use as a background or lock screen on your smartphone or device to help you carry today's Lectio Divina with you the rest of the day.
Today's prayer was prepared by Katie Herzing, a former youth minister turned parish evanglization consultant living in North Carolina.
If you have anything you'd like our team to pray for, please go to the page of our website called "Prayers" and let us know how we can pray for you today.