Mon, September 17, 2018 - What is the Tone in Prayer?
Luke 7: 1-10
When Jesus had finished all his words to the people, he entered Capernaum. A centurion there had a slave who was ill and about to die, and he was valuable to him. When he heard about Jesus, he sent elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and save the life of his slave. They approached Jesus and strongly urged him to come, saying, "He deserves to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation and he built the synagogue for us."
And Jesus went with them, but when he was only a short distance from the house, the centurion sent friends to tell him, "Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed. For I too am a person subject to authority, with soldiers subject to me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come here,' and he comes; and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it."
When Jesus heard this he was amazed at him and, turning, said to the crowd following him, "I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith." When the messengers returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
Jesus healed the slave. But did you notice the chain of persons that connected both of them? Actually, the slave did not even meet his savior in person. The Centurion, the elders, the disciples, the messengers: they beseeched Our Lord in waves of intercession.
What a beautiful Good News about the power of praying for others! We know how God loves each one of His creatures and, therefore, knows our needs “even before we ask.” And yet, here we witness the effect of benevolent intercession. Jesus gladly reacts to the request. In fact, what stands out to Him is the total trust and confidence in His might. He is sincerely baffled by how this foreigner sees Him.
Is it not difficult sometimes to find the right tone when we ask God for something? We sense how our petitions at times take on the character of an experiment, and we somehow know that to be the wrong approach. Or we fear to demand all too self-righteously. Or we lack the imagination to deem possible what we beg. Today instead, baffle God with your confidence! He is almighty.
I think we can discover what prevented the centurion from being demanding, experimenting or doubtful in his heart. “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof,” he says. This phrase, which we repeat before every communion, expresses the attitude thanks to which we can face God's tremendous generosity confidently. It unites humility with privilege - a combination which will bring forth the deepest joy, confidence, and courage in us. This combination of humility and privilege is what makes each father's heart melt.
"I am not worthy." And yet, here you stand before the King of the Universe. Nothing can seperate you from His Fatherly love, and this knowledge can prompt confident, courageous, yes, even bolt petitions and intercessions. Believe in His almighty authority, and trustfully ask to help this or that person whom you care for. “Only say the word and he or she will be healed.”