September 1, 2021

At an Acceptable Time

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me. With your faithful help
Psalm 69:13
Not long after the covid lockdown began, we started having Zoom meet-ups every evening. The dual purpose was to catch up and to pray. Since the lockdown ended, our meetings have gone from five days a week to two, but we still meet online. And in the past year, we who have been faithful in our attendance have learned a great deal about prayer.

First, we've learned gratitude. Sometimes we only have small things to be grateful for—the weather, a nice drive, seeing a friend through a storm door. Sometimes it's something much more substantial. And sometimes it's even something that seems bad, such as thanking God for a blizzard, trusting that good will come of it. But whenever we meet, we always find reasons to give thanks.

The next thing to mention here is that we have been persistent in our prayers. We have not grown weary of bringing the same concerns to God for months at a time. We have trusted that if it's weighing us down that God wants to hear from us. And so we pray... over and over again if necessary. 

Next, we have come to realize that answers do come. After months of praying for one individual who had been hovering on death's door, we were able to celebrate his healing and release from the hospital. Even his doctors pronounced his deliverance a miracle.

Finally, we have also come to realize that sometimes prayers are answered immediately—at least almost immediately. When praying for a positive outcome for a baby girl on Tuesday and Thursday one week, we (and her family, of course) had the answer by Saturday. No sedation was necessary for her tests, and the results were good.

And so when the psalmist prays that God will answer at an acceptable time, we are now better able to put the timing in God's hands. And when Jesus tells us that God will grant our requests if our sincere prayers are offered up in his Name, we can better trust that this is true. Whether the answer comes soon or much later, we know that God is listening.

Very truly, I tell you, if you ask anything of the Father in my Name, he will give it to you.
 John 16:23
Prayer after thinking about today's devotion:
Almighty and everlasting God, you are always more ready to hear than we to pray, and to give more than we either desire or deserve: Pour upon us the abundance of your mercy, forgiving us those things of which our conscience is afraid, and giving us those good things for which we are not worthy to ask, except through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ our Savior.
 Book of Common Prayer
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After your own thanksgivings & petitions, close with the Lord's Prayer.
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