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).
Imagine that you are put in jail, but have done nothing wrong. Imagine being stuck in a cell because the people in power were afraid of the power of your prayer and your God. How would you feel? It is hard enough to imagine going to jail being falsely accused for a crime, but it must be even harder being thrown in jail for trying to follow Jesus.
Now imagine being beaten, starved, humiliated, and then left locked up, not knowing if you will survive. Then you begin to pray. Not for vengeance, not even for freedom, but for God’s will to be done. Have you ever been able to pray that purely before? Then the earth shakes, the doors open, and freedom is before you; prayers answered right? Until you see the guard who knows his fate will be worse than yours was if he is blamed for this so he prepares to take his own life. But why should you care? He was would have gladly killed you if you had tried to escape. This is the moment we see why God answered Paul and Silas’ prayers. So many people pray every day, but we don’t see jail cells opened that often, so why? God granted their prayer in this miraculous way because of the purity of their hearts. They were more concerned about the life of the man charged to keep them in jail than their own lives, and they didn’t even hesitate, they reached out first, giving the jail keeper the choice to lock them back up or respond in love and set them free. They loved so purely that the man not only let them free, but he also took them into his home and cared for them and became a disciple.
Imagine yourself back in that jail cell. What would your prayer look like? Could it ever be as pure as Paul and Silas? The answer is yes, but it is not easy, it requires saintly virtue and love, but it is possible for all of us. Our prayer can be as powerful as the prayer of these men we read about today. We cannot control how God will respond to our prayer, but we can control, how we respond to His response. How would you have responded? Would you have ran to freedom, or sat there and cared for the man who would suffer for your escape instead? Let’s worry about being that pure of heart first, then I promise, miracles will happen in your life.
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.
When was the last time you truly prayed the words "thy will be done"? Do you trust in God's will? Do you truly believe that He wants only what is best for you?
In times of distress, what does your prayer look like? When was the last time you prayed for those persecuting or hurting you?
Is your heart pure? What can you do to make it more pure?
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.
"Thy will be done."
"Purify my heart."
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?
Focus on the words: "Thy will be done." Allow those words to purify all your thoughts and actions today.
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Today's prayer was prepared by Sean Norris, Youth Minister at Our Lady of the Wayside Parish in Arlington Heights, IL.
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