During a season of restlessness, I came across a prayer by Thomas Merton in which he expressed his inability to discern God’s leading. He hoped only that his desire to please God and to follow God’s will would be sufficient.
I prayed that prayer for months. Then one night I got a call from my supervisor. It was time for me to move to a new position. Suddenly I began sweating. I had not expected a move; I didn’t see it coming. After my initial shock, I realized that the opportunity to move came as an answer to prayer.
Prayer is a peculiar mix of confidence and mystery. It may not be as simple as we wish it to be. It may not be as quick a fix as we desire, but prayer does open up peculiar possibilities that I am convinced only come through prayer.
Earlier in chapter 3 of Luke we read of John’s message to the people and of the baptism he offers (3:3, 16). Then in today’s passage, Jesus prays after his baptism and hears God’s affirmation of him as Son and Beloved. The coming of the Spirit commissions and empowers Jesus for ministry; he takes up where John has left off.
How have you prayed in a season of restlessness? What words of affirmation and assurance is God offering you? Thomas Merton in his book Thoughts in Solitude wrote, “I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.” As we pray and seek to follow God’s call, we too will receive God’s affirmation and assurance. We then find ourselves empowered to take up our unique task in the world.
O God, pour out upon us your words of love and delight as we seek to follow you. Amen.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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