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Friday, June 6, 2014

Scripture Reading: Daniel 10:8–13
So I was left alone to see this great vision. My strength left me, and my complexion grew deathly pale, and I retained no strength. Then I heard the sound of his words; and when I heard the sound of his words, I fell into a trance, face to the ground.

But then a hand touched me and roused me to my hands and knees. He said to me, “Daniel, greatly beloved, pay attention to the words that I am going to speak to you. Stand on your feet, for I have now been sent to you.” So while he was speaking this word to me, I stood up trembling. He said to me, “Do not fear, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your mind to gain understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard, and I have come because of your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me twenty-one days. So Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I left him there with the prince of the kingdom of Persia. (NRSV)

Reflection
Daniel is tired here. He is weak, and he is anxiously awaiting a vision from God in response to a message he received earlier. After three weeks of prayer he is visited by an angel who says to him, “Don’t be afraid, Daniel, because from the day you first set your mind to understand things and to humble yourself before your God, your words were heard. I’ve come because of your words!”

This picture is so visual for me. Prayer can be a laboring process, and sometimes it can take a long time to really hear God’s voice, but as verse 12 tells us, God hears our words from the first moment we decide to humble ourselves and enter into that conversation. We are greatly “treasured” by God; God wants us to come to him but also tells us that we have to be patient. God tells us that our prayers will be answered, but how often are we really willing to wait for those answers? When do we allow ourselves to submit, sometimes to the point of being tired?

I know that when I practice the piano it can be monotonous at times. However, after much patience and practice, there is that amazing point when all of a sudden I sit down to play and my fingers just find the keys with ease. I look at prayer in a similar light. Prayer can feel frustrating at times when you feel like you have asked multiple times and not received, but if you pray repeatedly and discipline yourself, there is that magical moment when you get your answer and it all unfolds with God’s grace.

Prayer
Lord, help me to always remember that you hear my words before they even leave my lips. I pray that you always give me that energy, even during times of silence to wait for your reply. Amen.

Written by Ashley Elskus, Co-Director, Center for Life and Learning


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