As I think about this past year there are so many moments where the Lord answered my prayers amidst the sorrows and joys of everyday life. I have heard countless times that there are three different ways the Lord answers our prayers. Sometimes He says “yes”, sometimes He says “not yet”, and other times He says “I have something better in store for you”. I am continually surprised and humbled by the fact that the Lord answers the prayers of someone as lowly and wretched as I am. It seems so unbelievable! Why in the world would the Lord take the time to answer my prayers? There is actually one simple answer to this question: love. The Lord loves us so much that He answers our prayers in ways that we could never imagine. My goal for this study is to walk you through a reflection in your intentions for this New Year.
In Matthew 7:7-11 Jesus says, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” I love hearing this bible verse because I instantly start to think about all of the things I should be praying for and how much the Lord can be helping me in my day to day studies, but little did I know that there is a completely different meaning to this well known verse. In this verse the Lord is asking us to ask for the greatest of our hearts’ desire. This desire isn’t our future spouse or a new career, but an authentic and personal relationship with our Lord. Anytime we ask for a deeper relationship with our Lord He always answers our prayers. The Lord wants us to pray for things such as more patience, a higher ability to love, and a deeper relationship with Him. When we pray for things such as this we will never be disappointed.
I am definitely not saying that we shouldn’t pray for our loved ones and other intentions, though. We should always pray for those in our lives all others who ask for our prayers. In those situations we should take after Saint Monica who never ceased praying for the conversion of her son, Saint Augustine. Saint Monica prayed day in and day out for her son and we all know how that turned out. The Lord answered her prayers and her son became one of the greatest saints and doctors of the church. This is what I am saying, while we need to spend this year praying for all of the special intentions we hold in our hearts, we should also ask the Lord for a deeper relationship with Him. The Lord loves us so much that He is waiting for the moment we open our hearts and invite Him in. I pray that you open your hearts as a manger for the baby Jesus to stay this Christmas season.
Reflect and Discuss: What are your special intentions for this New Year? How can you invite the Lord into your heart to stay this New Year?
Act: Take at least ten minutes to write down all of your intentions for this New Year. Who needs help in your life? Who can grow closer to the Lord? How can you grow closer to the Lord?