Monday of the Second Week
After planting seeds, literal or figurative, I have been waiting – thank you, Creator God, for tiny signs of life. Geoff Te Braake SJ
Entering into Prayer
Choose a method of entering into prayer that you are comfortable with, or if the mood takes you, try something different. If you’re finding it difficult, talk to God about the things on your mind.
Today's Scripture (Daniel 9: 4-10)
I prayed to the Lord my God and made confession, saying, ‘Ah, Lord, great and awesome God, keeping covenant and steadfast love with those who love you and keep your commandments, we have sinned and done wrong, acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and ordinances. We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our ancestors, and to all the people of the land. ‘Righteousness is on your side, O Lord, but open shame, as at this day, falls on us, the people of Judah, the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and all Israel, those who are near and those who are far away, in all the lands to which you have driven them, because of the treachery that they have committed against you. Open shame, O Lord, falls on us, our kings, our officials, and our ancestors, because we have sinned against you. To the Lord our God belong mercy and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against him, and have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by following his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets.
Food for thought
Israel’s history, much like our world today, is marked by disaster and then rescue.The Jewish people lived as slaves in Egypt until they were freed by God through Moses. Centuries later, after their exile in Babylon, another disaster loomed. Israel was surrounded by danger.The Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes wanted the Jewish people to lose their identity, to not be themselves, to embrace the Greek culture, at the cost of their own heritage, law and customs. Israel had nowhere else to turn to.
Suggestions for Prayer
The Old Testament book of Daniel dates from this time, and the first reading is a prayer of sorrow made by the people who were and asking for mercy in hope of being rescued from this crisis. Israel’s leaders knew that they themselves do not have all the answers. They prayed to God to help the whole people. This prayer is one of many in the Bible where everyone, the people and their leaders, ask for God’s help.When you face a daunting situation, what do you pray for? The people of Israel expected their leaders to pray for them and their work, they did so knowing of the previous times where they had been rescued.When you pray, recall all the gifts and help you have received over the course of your life? Who has helped you? Where would you be without that help? The God addressed in the prayer in Daniel is above all the God of compassion, what would you like to tell God that you have not told anyone else?
How are you going to respond today?
What is weighing upon you at the moment? How might you invite God’s help? If there is a person you have offended, perhaps you can consider ways to show how sorry you are?
Image for the Day
- What does this image say to you?
- Have you ever felt like Daniel, surrounded by lions?
- Who do you think are the prophets of our day?
Examen (Review of Prayer)
Some people find it helpful to keep a prayer journal to help them review their prayer. Keeping a reflective prayer journal can be a great aid towards growth in the spiritual life. Over time it offers a record of experiences that you have had, and what you and God have made of them as they happened. This means that looking back it becomes easier to see how and where you have changed, in outlook or in patterns of behaviour. Such changes are often so slow and almost imperceptible that they can easily go unnoticed. One way of understanding what to record in such a journal is to ask yourself: ‘What has stirred me up, has moved me, over the period that I am considering?’ This puts you in touch with what Ignatius Loyola would call ‘movements of spirits’, and which he saw as being indicators of God at work in aperson’s life. What has moved you might be a conversation you have had; a book that you’ve read; a situation that you have encountered; a piece of work that you have done; etc. The journal offers you a chance to explore in more detail, with God, what the happening meant to you.