God Always Listens…

God looked down from the holy height,
from heaven God beheld the earth,
to hear the groaning…

From Psalm 102:20-21

When I was a child, people often asked me to pray on their behalf. I obliged as best I could. Every night, I said my prayers. This was more my mother’s doing than my own. When she tucked me into bed, she’d always ask, “Did you say your prayers?” If I had, I proudly acknowledged this. If I hadn’t, I admitted my omission and quickly began. Sometimes, though I told my mom that I already said my prayers, she mentioned that I might want to offer an extra prayer for someone who was sick or who had something difficult to deal with. Again, I happily obliged. I was pleased that someone thought my prayers were helpful.

Over the years, difficulties which seemed not to be alleviated by my prayers gave me reason to question this effort. I wondered far too often if prayer did any good at all. Fortunately, I eventually realized that presenting a laundry list of requests to God isn’t all there is to prayer. I finally learned to listen. Rather then voicing what God already knew, I invited God to look into my heart for my troubles and those I carried for others. Though I wasn’t always sure of what my prayer accomplished, just knowing that God was aware changed everything for me. Though I rarely knew what, I knew for certain God would see to everything in God’s good time.

Generous God, inspire us with your persistence, that we will always turn to you in our need and with our gratitude.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

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Take The Time To Talk and To Listen

Jesus went up to the mountain to pray,
and he spent the night talking to God.

Luke 6:12

For several years, my husband and I taught aspiring Catholics. Though we covered a myriad of topics, my favorite was prayer. We introduced commonly known prayers first and then shared our own preferences. Mike and I agree that we do our best praying when we simply engage in conversation with God. Jesus spent his public life convincing us of God’s unconditional love, acceptance, mercy and concern for each of us. When we take these teachings to heart, we realize just how intimately God wishes to be connected with us. In my case, I share my deepest concerns only with those by whom I feel accepted and with whom I feel comfortable. It seems to me that God tops this list of my most precious friends.

After hopefully convincing the group that talking to God is as natural as talking to a good friend, we also reminded them to listen. When I share my deepest thoughts or worries with a friend, I fully expect a response. Sometimes, this will come in a knowing smile, a pat on the back or a similar story from his or her experience. Sometimes, we simply sit together, knowing that each of us understands the other. The same is true in our conversations with God. Though I’ve never heard a word spoken from God’s lips, I have received God’s response in the quiet of the moment, in an unexpected remark from someone or in a forgotten line from a favorite book. Sometimes, God speaks in the autumn breeze and sometimes God speaks deep within me. Whenever we take the time to talk with God, God finds a way to respond.

Dear God, let’s talk…

©2017 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Time To Talk

This people honors me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.

From Mark 7:6

I admit to envying my friend a bit. A while back, he shared that he has made serious progress when it comes to prayer. Somehow, he managed to set aside the hustle and hassles of daily life in order to spend quality time meditating. The results have been obvious in his demeanor and writing for some time now. Once again, I have decided to take a closer look at my own efforts in this regard.

Though I babble at the Lord God all day long, I have not taken the time to sit, to reflect and to listen to what my dear Lord has to say to me. In an effort to be proactive, I decided to schedule “appointments” with God. Just as I do my morning exercises, write and start dinner at given times each day, I planned to set aside a specific time for prayer. Sadly, this has been much easier said than done.

This morning, as my fingers dance across my keyboard, my head fills up with the same old excuses for not making a prayer appointment today. I wonder why this is the case because whenever I stop to pray, I emerge tangibly joyful and at peace. So it is that this will be the last reflection I prepare this morning. There is Someone with whom I need to talk…

Good and Gracious God, thank you for your patience with me. Though I allow many things to keep me from spending time with you, you are always attentive to me. Let’s talk…

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

A Prayer Lesson

The Lord looked down from his holy height,
from heaven he beheld the earth,
to hear the groaning of the prisoners,
to release those doomed to die.

Psalm 102:20-21

When I was a child, people often asked me to pray for things. Of course, I obliged as best I could. Every night, I said my prayers. This was more my mother’s doing than my own. When she tucked me into bed, she always asked, “Did you say your prayers?” If I had, I proudly acknowledged this. If I hadn’t, I admitted my omission and quickly began. Sometimes, though I told my mom that I already said my prayers, she mentioned that I might want to offer an extra prayer for someone who was sick or who had something difficult to deal with. I happily obliged. I was pleased that someone thought my prayers were helpful.

Over the years, difficulties which seemed not to be alleviated by my prayers gave me reason to question this effort. I found myself wondering far too often if my prayers did any good at all. Fortunately, I eventually realized that presenting a laundry list of requests to God wasn’t the best use of my prayer time. I learned to sit quietly for a bit. Rather then voicing what God already knew, I invited God to look into my heart for my troubles and those I carried for others. Though I was not always sure of what my prayer did for those who needed them, just knowing that God was aware changed everything for me. Though I rarely knew what, I knew for certain that something would be done in God’s good time.

Generous God, help us never to doubt your concern for us. Inspire us with your persistence, that we will always turn to you in our need and with our gratitude.

©2015 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved