February 1st, 2008 • Category: Variety Week
by David Zier

Today’s scripture: Luke 18:1-15 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (David Zier):

These parables are about the widow who was persistent in coming to Jesus and was granted justice because of her persistence, and about the Pharisee who exalted himself while praying and the tax collector who prayed, “have mercy on me, a sinner.”

As I read this, I wondered, where do I see myself? Do I really go to God with a persistent attitude? Do I go to God with humility?

There is so much injustice, and so much need in the world, am I persistent in lifting this up to God to transform my own attitude and what I do, and pray for others? Am I too wrapped up in myself to keep going to God persistently? Am I too wrapped up in myself to humble myself and not worry so much whether or not others see me as some great Godly person, or do I pray honestly and ask for mercy?

Well, maybe sometimes I can beat myself up too much. The following is a poem from Mother Theresa that I have modified a little (just a few words) so that I can examine myself in the words of this prayer. Prayers of examen (of ourselves) help us to look at the day or the week, and assess both our good and bad moments, so that we can learn from both.

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self-centered, and I can be as well; forgive us all anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Asses your own motives and pray to be in a humble place, and be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway, but do not to boast, remain humble, and share in your success with others.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; be honest and frank anyway. Can I be more honest and authentic than I was yesterday?

What you spend years building, someone may destroy overnight; build anyway. Do I let others drag me down, or do I let the life of Jesus Christ guide my life and what I build?

If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous; be happy anyway, and be generous with your happiness and bless others.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; do good anyway. Can I do more good today than yesterday?

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; give the world the best you’ve got anyway. Is there anything preventing me from giving the world the best of me?

In the final analysis, it is all between you and God; it was never between you and them anyway.

(There’s more about this ancient form of prayer, called Examen of Consciousness, at Living Room >> A space for Life.)

Have ever heard the song Anyway by Martina McBride? The message is very similar. You can watch it here.

Thought for the day: Am I persistent in keeping to the words and actions that Jesus calls me to in my own life?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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