THE ‘LET’ OF LENT – Tuesday, March 9
I call upon you, O Lord; come quickly to me;
give ear to my voice when I call to you.
Let my prayer be counted as incense before you,
and the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice.
Psalm 141:1-2 (NRSV)
Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known to God.
Philippians 4:6 (NRSV)
I once worked as a service representative for the telephone company. Even though the work was challenging, I usually felt a sense of peace and joy when I could help customers resolve a problem and brighten their day. This was a different type of ministry, not one in which I could talk about my faith, but one in which I could share kindness, understanding and often, compassion.
But oh my. There were difficult times when I would try to help callers who were very angry and frustrated! Service representatives are given techniques to calm and settle irate customers by responding with understanding and gentle reassurance. Still, there were times when I could not seem appease or help the customers in any way. Our interactions were futile as they refused to listen to any reasoning, to understand the points I was making, or to quiet enough to hear of possible solutions; they only continued to make impossible demands. I must honestly note that in these situations, I soon lost my patience and any desire to help them.
We are so fortunate to have a wonderfully compassionate God who can handle our anger! God can take any of our prayers of frustration, anger, or blame, and gently glean our true intentions from our misdirected rage. I am so very thankful that God is infinitely more patient and merciful than I could ever be. God will never abruptly hang up on us or turn our phone service off (not that I admit to any of that. 🙂 ). God will always be ready to hear and to help.
But today our spiritual invitation is to Let us pray as incense before God, as an evening sacrifice, without worrying, and with thanksgiving. In these phrases we understand prayer as pleasant… permeating… gentle…lingering… surrendering… grateful… sacrificial… humble.
When we learn to come to God in adoration and trust, we then can pray with a more receptive posture, ready to hear and heed God’s guidance and assurance. Our angry demands transform into honest questions. Our frustrated requests change into the hope of finding solutions together. Our closed minds open into new possibilities. I am upset but how can we work together? How can we resolve my concerns as a team? Am I willing to let you find the answer, or do I want a say in it? How have I contributed to the problem? Is there anything I need to learn in this difficult time?
God knows all of our fears, intentions, angers, frustrations, and sorrows better than we know ourselves. God will answer our prayers better than we can imagine – if we let God do the imagining.
May we let our prayers become as incense before God, as an evening sacrifice, presented without worrying, and with thanksgiving. May we always come to God with a ready, hopeful, and receptive stance so that God can truly work in us and through us – for our goodness and for God’s glory.
Our reading for tomorrow will be 2 Peter 2:1-10.
Bible verses found at https://classic.biblegateway.com/