Michael M. Burke, O. P., D. Min.
Praying Out of Weakness
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Praying Out Of Our Weakness

 This presentation was presented to the St. Michael’s Men’s Group, Cary, NC in the Spring of 2004.

 The Scripture Passages for this theme are: Luke 5, 2 Cor 12:7-10; The Pharisee and the Publican and…Mt. 9: 10-13; Luke 19:10.  Romans 5: 6, 8-9; Lk 15 (Elder brother, frightened of the father, and that serving him cause God/father to love him; younger son knew the father’s love and mercy;

 Praying out of our weakness means for me today, praying with honesty and awareness that all is gift, that God’s grace connects with us in our weakness and vulnerability.

 Weakness means many things and it is different for each person.   One way to understand it is ‘What is the thorn you wish the Lord would remove from your life?’  It could be physical illness, some personality deficit or handicap, something you’ve struggled with all your life…take the Seven Capital Sins for an inventory:

Pride, Anger, Lust, Avarice, Gluttony, Envy, Sloth…We sometimes forget them, but some people struggle with an Irish temper or any kind of a temper all their lives, others Lust and so on…It may be a connecting point to pray out of your weakness.

 One point:  When do we begin to pray out of our weakness?  There must be a point of contact with our weakness or brokenness.  When we are in touch with this and it has been stirred, then the Lord uses that word or incident to invite us to prayer, union with Him.  Then we begin to pray.  People don’t pray because they don’t have time.  More deeply people don’t pray because their hearts are hardened, or not broken open.  There is a layer of numbness that covers over our life and separates us from honest, feeling prayer with the Lord.  Perhaps the obvious external excuse is that we are too busy, but that is really just an excuse.  We can do what we want to do.  We can make time for anyone we want to be with.  When we really are busy we make breakfast dates with friends.  The Lord is our best friend and having a breakfast date, so to speak, a time of prayer where we open our hearts, our wound, to Him is the best and deepest prayer.  It is mostly wordless, after a thought or desire out of our state of being in the presence of the Lord.  He begins the healing as soon as we open our hearts to him. 

            We come to him in prayer knowing that He is not there to judge or correct us, but simply to be with us in our weakness and brokenness.  He is there as friend. 

 A start for prayer is writing a sentence, ‘This is where I am in my life right now…or ‘At this time in my life, I find myself…’  Spend a little time, perhaps as much as twenty minutes in silence before beginning to write this paragraph.  Then see what jumps out at you, feelings, ‘colors’ themes from this paragraph.   Then move to a conversation/colloquy with the Lord.

 ‘Tuning in to Grace’ challenges our assumption that we must repent of our sins before we can be recipients of God’s grace: Andre Louf argues that grace is intermingled with sin because, ‘the road of sin and mercy is the obvious place from which to connect with God and attune ourselves to his marvelous grace.’

Father Michael Burke, OP
Submitted 12/07/2005
Email: michael@mburkeop.com


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