prayer before praying

Image by Himsan on Pixabay   

If I’m just talking to myself –
and answering myself in what I think is a pious way,
what a horrible delusion this business of praying is.
But if I really am talking to you, God, not just to myself,
what an awesome, amazing, delightful, and scary thing this is!

    But how can I tell if it’s you?

I could easily generate some of these ideas myself
(even the good ones) because of some unconscious need or desire.

   But how can I know?

What you have said to others in the past helps,
because I believe you will always be true to yourself –
   a God “slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love”
   who desires “mercy, not sacrifice,”
   who offers life to all who will listen.
I can trust those understandings
   that seem to be answers to prayer, then,
   if they move in the direction of life, and justice,
   and mercy, and steadfast love.

I am also helped by others seeking your guidance.
Sharing our insights with each other,
we are less likely to wind up on some path
   chosen by our own concerns rather than yours.

However, I do not trust alone in what is written,
   or what others tell me.
My help is “from the Lord.”
Unless your spirit leads my praying as well as my living,
I pray, and live, in vain.
I believe, Lord. Help my unbelief!

Walter C. Sutton


And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.

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