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Approaching Mystery 4: Prayer

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Tom Plant

on 6 March 2013

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Transcript of Approaching Mystery 4: Prayer

"Whatsoever ye ask in prayer, believing,
ye shall receive." Matthew 21.22 So far, we've seen various ways of looking at the Eucharist.
Can you remember any of them? We've seen it divided into the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Sacrament. We've talked about parallels between the Eucharist and the liturgical calendar: remember that? But the Eucharist has many layers, and many interpretations.
Perhaps that's the joy of it: it exhausts classification or simple
attempts at explanation. Learning the Eucharist is a lifelong task. Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP suggests that the Eucharist can be seen in three parts: Faith
Hope
Love In faith, we confess our sins and hear God's word, concluding by proclaiming that faith in the Creed. In hope, we ask God to hear our prayers, relying on him completely, and ask Him to send His spirit upon us and the bread and wine to transform us and them into the body of Christ. In love, we receive the gift of the covenant, the body and blood and the answer to our prayers; and we are sent out into the world to share that love with others. So following this pattern, we come now to the beginning of the 'hope' part of the Eucharist: the prayers of intercession, or 'Prayer of the Faithful.' But: "He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust"
(Mt 5.45) So will the Lord buy me a Mercedes Benz, or won't He?
In groups, read through Mt 21.18-22 and think about the question. You may also want to consider James 5 and either Ecclesiastes or Job while you're at it! "Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered.
And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.
And when the disciples saw it, they marvelled, saying, How soon is the fig tree withered away!
Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.
And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." Some final thoughts:
Don't be afraid to ask big, but don't expect everything to work out as you think it should.
Prayer is at least partly psychological: it makes us mindful of the needs of others.
Asking God for something is a sign of our complete dependence on Him; of humility and trust.
Ultimately, there are no easy answers, and people who think there are often end up getting hurt or hurting others.
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