AUGUST 2004 CALENDAR ARTICLE
OUR THEME THIS YEAR:
Serving God with Humility and Love
Prayer — a Heartfelt Expression of Humility and Love
by Barbara Plucheck
Now I lay me down to sleep;
I pray my Lord my soul to keep.
Should I die before I wake,
I pray, O Lord, my soul you’ll take.
At sixty years of age I am still praying this prayer. Though my heart is fervent, am I being humble in saying this child’s prayer? Only our Father can say whether I am or not.
So it is with humbling ourselves in any prayer. Do not just say, “We humbly bow.” Rather, let us just see our deep need of talking to God in his presence; and as we express that yearning and trust, we know he will answer and provide whatever we ask in faith, nothing doubting.
The scriptures speak often of prayer. Read, for example, Matthew 21:21-22: Jesus replied, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
Take notice that in this scripture, when one is praying, the power is not in our believing but in the Father who is all powerful and able to do what we ask. Humility comes from understanding how great God is and how little we are. What I have just written is the ice cream of the sundae. Gratitude is the whipped cream and cherry that tops the sundae, making it delectable to God in our praise and thanksgiving from the heart.
Our prayers must also include pleas for our loved ones and others, and then for ourselves. It is in this order of putting ourselves last that we attain to humility — understanding that if we think of ourselves as being humble and take “pride” in that, we have ceased to be of a humble mind. For me this is all part of Jesus’ command to take up our cross and follow him, because we innately want to be first and most important. But as I ponder what I have just written, I know that I too need to be more conscious of praying for others first and myself last.
And so I end with that childlike plea for myself: “Father, please take me home when I die.”