By The Rev B. Adolfo Moronta, Guest Preacher

Prayer is about making a connection, connecting with God. Is a relationship, through which we communicate, worship, and sincerely seek God, knowing that he hears us, loves us and will respond, though not always in a manner we may expect or desire.

Good morning brothers and sisters in Christ

Today’s gospel is centered on the life of prayer. Ask and you will receive, search and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.

Two weeks ago my nieces came from Dominican Republic to be with me for a week in Alexandria. Together we established a calendar of what we would do each one of the days we were going to be together. The second day they were in Virginia we went to Chuck E Cheeses a wonderful place for children that has all kinds of arcade games, amusement rides and very good food. At Chuck E Cheeses every machine awards the players with tickets that can later be exchanged for all kinds of toys or goodies. When my nieces where about to play their first game they made me an unusual request; “Can you please pray for the machine?” Even thought I thought that it was kind of absurd to do this I gave in to their request and prayed with them for this particular machine. When they put their hands on the machine and began to play something unexpected happened the machine gave them right on the first round a total of 150 tickets. With a smile on their faces they came to me saying “look what just happened.” Right there at that moment I thought about the importance my nieces gave to prayer. My nieces were amazed and thought that the prayer had produced the abundance of tickets.

That makes prayer look like magic. It is not magic. We cannot think of God as a genie, waiting to grant our wishes without regard for our circumstances or the consequences. Then what is prayer? Putting it in a simple way prayer is about making a connection, connecting with God. It’s like a telephone we can use to talk to God all the time.

Prayer can also be defined as a relationship, through which we communicate, worship, and sincerely seek God, knowing that he hears us, loves us and will respond, though not always in a manner we may expect or desire.

There are different types of prayers adoration, praise, thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, petition and meditation (when we listen to God).

When we pray there are 3 possible answers: 1) Yes, when what we are asking in prayer goes accordingly to Gods plan and it’s the right time to receive it. 2) No, when we don’t ask wisely, and God to be a truly loving God, must refuse our request; 3) Wait, when we are not fully ready and it’s not the correct time for our petition to be answered, and God through this waiting period can work in our lives.

Throughout the bible we are all called and encouraged to pray Mathew 6:8 says: “your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” But even thought he knows he wants to hear from us, he wants us to tell him what is going on, what are troubles or needs are.

In Dominican Republic a pastor shared to me a story of one of his parishioners that is a perfect example of the power of prayer. There was this lady in his congregation she was in her late 30’s and she was desperately looking for a husband. Is there anybody in the church today looking for a husband or wife? Or perhaps a girlfriend or boyfriend? Because, you are going to like the turnout of this story.

Every time this lady saw the priest of her church Sunday after Sunday for four consecutive months she would ask him the same question are you praying for the husband that I am waiting for? Because he sure hasn’t arrived?

Later as the weeks when by the priest noticed that she was not attending the services anymore, so he asked her mother who was also a member of the parish, I haven’t seen your daughter for a while? Is she ok? Her mother told the priest “she has gone mad and has decided to go on a strike and has told the Lord that she would not leave her room. She is walking around in her room with a sign that says on strike waiting for a husband” and, she has put outside her bedroom window many more with the same message.

With this action she got the attention of the people of her community who saw her through the window of her room how she endlessly walked around and around holding her sign while praying to the Lord. The community joined her prayers and one day when she was about to give up she felt on her knees, began to cry and suddenly felt that the Lord spoke to her heart and said to her “today you will meet him and he will have a white flower in his pocket.” Immediately she got her best dress and best shoes on she borrowed a purse from her neighbor and went to Church. It was a Sunday and that particular day there was guest preacher visiting who happened to have a white flower on his pocket just as she was told in prayer.

During the service she was very nervous, her hands were sweating. When she finally heard the dismissal “Go in peace to love and serve the Lord” She was determined to meet him but every time she tried to approach him someone interrupted and got in her way. Finally, it was in the parish hall while having a cup of coffee that there was an intense eye connection between the two that led to a friendship and later to a marriage. Today she is happily married and has four kids.

Brothers and sisters in Christ God is all powerful and no prayer is beyond his ability to answer, “For nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). No prayer is too great for Him, but also no prayer is too small for Him. God is in charge of everything that happens in His Universe. Nothing takes him by surprise and nothing happens in our lives without the knowledge of God, even though we may not always understand His actions: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).

Prayer is the power given by God to us so we can continuously communicate with him. Do you have a personal relationship with the Lord through prayer? Do you take time to pray? Do you believe in the power of prayer? Are some of the questions we need to think about today.

We are not meant to pray only for our own needs, thinking of nothing and no one but ourselves; we are meant to pray as members of a community. As we pray we need to remember the basic law of prayer; that in prayer we don’t always receive, the answer which we desire, but the answer which God in his wisdom and his love knows are best.

Today Jesus is inviting us to a deeply personal relationship with God, encouraging us to call upon God using the same name he uses Father. He invites us to call upon God as children call upon a loving parent, trusting that they belong to God and that God wants for them what is good and life giving. We are invited into a relationship with a loving God who wants to give us life, and who continues to work tirelessly for our redemption and that of all creation. We need to keep bringing our needs and hopes to our heavenly Father, because Jesus tells us to do so, trusting in God’s loving purpose for us. Not everything that happens is God’s will. But we can affirm with St. Paul, “in all things God works for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).