Thursday, July 16, 2020

"Ask What You Will" by Regina Madonna Oliver sfcc from A Promise of Presence, Weekly Prayer Reflections and Daily Prayer Activities in A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan and Regina Madonna Oliver


"If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask for whatever you wish, and it will be done for you."

John 15:7-8 (NRSV)

I really didn't want to tell B that she had to leave. She didn't need another rejection in her life. B was without funds to provide a month's rent plus the required deposit on an apartment of her own. That is why she was temporarily camping out in our guest room. But it wasn't working. My cousin, E, a physically-challenged woman in middle age, was more than B's nerves could take. More than once B had verbally abused my cousin.

"Oh, God," I prayed. "I don't want to have to tell B to leave. She has suffered so much rejection and is so alienated. But I can't

in conscience let this abuse continue."What can I do?" I kept up this anguished cry hour after hour, whenever I thought of the hopeless situation. Within a day or two, without any prompting from me, B came to me and said, "This is not working, and it's not fair to E. My nerves are bad, and I respond to her whining and nagging with an anger I can't control. I really have to leave."

One time, a novice was totally frustrated by her inability to pray despite all her best efforts. When the novice confided this to her spiritual director, the spiritual director said, "Have you asked God for the gift?" The novice was surprised. She had not thought of prayer as being God's gift to her. She had presumed it was sup­ posed to be her gift to God.

Whatever our need, despite our total inability to do anything for ourselves, we only have to turn to God and ask for the gift. The promise is there: "Ask what you will and it will be done for you."


Bring to mind something you need-perhaps something you desperately need, something you have tried to take care of yourself but simply cannot resolve, something that is literally beyond you, something you cannot control. Bring that need to God in your prayer today. Every time the thought troubles you, knock on God's door. Tell God, "help," and keep it up. Don't get discouraged. Then relinquish your need to God. Let God hold the burden. Don't try to carry it again yourself. At the right time, you will see that God answers. Make this your prayer today:

Look, God. I can't do this. I dump it at your door. I give it into your hands.


Ask another person to pray with you today. This can be done in person, on the phone, by fax or by e-mail. Because God is com­puter-literate and God's imagination is big enough to create the universe, God can certainly understand that two or three can gather in many different ways. And where two or three gather, where is God? Indeed, in the midst of those gathered, be that on the tele­ phone, via the fax message, in the e-mail dialogue, or in the living

room. If it is one of those wonderful days when your burdens are light, think about someone you know who is suffering a crisis, and communicate with that person. You might even have the occasion to pray with her or him, or at least to say, "You are in my prayers about this."


Get in touch with your needs today. Sometimes you may need to get below the surface, where everything seems smooth, to become aware of pressing needs deep within. There, in that deeper place, God's Spirit is at work, pruning and grooming you, in the trans­ forming process that gradually forms you, more and more, in the image ofJesus. Today, ask God to help you get in touch with your needs. Speak to God's Holy Spirit at work in you. Make this your prayer today:

Spirit of God, thank you for your transforming action within me. I want to be open to what you are doing. I want to be willing to be changed and transformed by you. I will not be afraid of you, because I know that you love me tenderly. You do only what is for my good.


Make this psalm your prayer today:

Thank you Adonai, for you are good! Your love is everlasting!

Thank you, God of gods! Your love is everlasting!

Thank you Sovereign of sovereigns, Your love is everlasting!

you alone perform such great marvels. Your love is everlasting!

Your wisdom made the heavens. Your love is everlasting!

You spread the land out over the waters. Your love is everlasting!

You made the great lights; Your love is everlasting!

the sun to govern the day,

Your love is everlasting!

moon and stars to govern the night. Your love is everlasting!

(Add your own personal words of praise),

Your love is everlasting!

(Continue until you run out of praises and lapse into silent awe.) Psalm 136: 1-9 (IP)


Is there a letter you should write to someone today? Is it a long overdue letter because you got so busy with your daily concerns? Is it a letter of apology? Is it a belated birthday letter? Is it a "thank you for being my friend" letter? Is it a "just to let you know I love you" letter? Maybe it's just a couple of sentences attached to one of those cards that "says it all." Send that letter as your prayer today.


Get in touch with the news today. What is happening in your neighborhood? In the national news? In the world? Which of the happenings of this day tug at your heartstrings, make you angry,

- frustrate you? Bring this situation and your feelings about it to your

prayer today. Place it confidently in God's hands. Rest peacefully in God's presence, sure in the knowledge that God is in charge. Resolve to bring the larger problems, the social problems, the

world problems, to God in prayer regularly, for this is God's world.

Know that the concerns of the world are the concerns of God. Trust that God brings about resolution to problems through your

prayers. Join your heart with God's immense heart oflove as you

pray about the immense, seemingly insoluble problems of the world. The Berlin Wall came down and we have seen the demise of Communism. Believe it! Your prayer does matter. Your prayer contributes to world-transforming changes.


Make this your prayer today. It was the prayer of Mary, Queen of

Scots, while imprisoned:

0 Domine Deus, speravi in te; 0 God, I have hoped in you;

0 Care, mi fesu, nunc libera me. 0 my dearest Jesus, free me now!

In dura catena, in misera poena,

desidero te! Languendo, gemendo, et genuflectendo,

Adora, imploro ut liberes me!

In harsh bondage, in wretched

punishment, I desire you!

Languishing, groaning, and kneeling before you,

I adore, I implore that you liberate me!


(From book A Promise of Presence by Bridget Mary Meehan sfcc and Regina Madonna Oliver sfcc

published by ACTA)

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