Reading about Peter healing the sick and raising the dead can seem inspiring and also intimidating. When we read the text closer we realized that Peter prays or invokes the name of Jesus prior to these miracles. This can seem inspiring as we realize what is possible with God. However, it can also seem intimidating when we pray for strength, courage, forgiveness and many other things that are not nearly as difficult as healing the sick or raising the dead.
Surely if God can help Peter with this major request, then God can handle my relatively small and humble request, right? This is a results-based approach to prayer that can be a trap that I can fall into. Instead of focusing on the outcome of prayer it is helpful for me to focus on who I am praying to. My prayer is already answered when I turn to God for anything. Not because I get what I asked for, but because I go to God. When we go to God, we admit we cannot do it on our own, things are out of our control, we need something beyond ourselves. That is where we encounter God, not in the receiving. It seems Peter realized this, we remember what Peter was like when he tried to handle things on his own. However, we also see what is possible when Peter relies on God.
Has it been difficult for you to keep praying even when you do not feel your prayers have been answered?
What has been good about your turning to God in prayer?
—Br. Pat Douglas, S.J, is Vocation Promoter for the Wisconsin Province of the Society of Jesus and a residence hall chaplain at Creighton University, Omaha, NE. For more information on Jesuit vocations, click here.