HOW TO PRAY IN HIS NAME: Opening Yourself To God's Universe Of Blessings - by Bo Sanchez
Monday, October 1, 2007 2:22:16 AM
Kerygma Magazine, November 2005
A man had a rum bottle in his hand.
He swaggered along, climbed the bus with difficulty, and stumbled to an empty seat - next to a Catholic priest.
The intoxicated man, who even had lipstick kiss marks on his face, got a folded newspaper from his pocket and started reading.
After a few minutes, the man turned to the priest and said, "Father, do you know what causes arthritis?"
The priest seeing an opportunity to correct the man, shot back angrily, "Arthritis is caused by drinking too much alcohol and womanizing!"
"Wow!", the man muttered and returned to his newspaper.
The priest, however, began to regret what he said. He turned to the man and said, "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to get angry. Since when you had arthritis, son?"
"Not me, Father", he said, "I was just reading here that the Pope does. Golly gee, I didn't know he had a drinking problem and was womanizing too?"
EVEN HOLY PEOPLE HAVE PROBLEMS
No, the Pope doesn't have a drinking problem and he doesn't womanize. But I know that the former Pope had a Parkinson's disease. The point I'm trying to make? Very holy people have problems too. They're not exempt. God says, "My son, when you come to serve the Lord, be prepared for trials..." (Sirach 2:1). So what would we do with our problems? Pray. But how? How should we pray? Here are three important ways...
I. PRAY WITH OPENNESS
Imagine a man dying of hunger. You see it in his bulging eyeballs, sunken cheeks, gaping mouth, parched tongue and matchstick body. But you noticed one thing. Stuffed in his pockets are thick wads of Php1000 bills. The man dying of hunger is incredibly rich. But where is he, you ask. In the middle of the desert? No. Imagine him to be in the middle of a giant supermarket. Insane, right? Why doesn't he just buy the food? That's the point. That's the insanity of people who complain they don't receive blessings in the midst of God's universe brimming, teeming and swarming with blessings. It's absurd. But that's the shocking truth: Many people aren't open to God's blessings. We close our lives from them. We do so in two ways: (1) By our minds and (2) by our actions.
FIRST REJECTION OF BLESSINGS: BY OUR MINDS
Let me ask you: How do you begin your day? I believe we win or lose our day by how we we start our mornings. By our thoughts and words we predict the kind of day we have. I know some people who wake up, look at the mirror and say, "You're ugly. This is a terrible day. What bad luck will happen today?" I know people who wake up that way, and guess what: Their words are fulfilled. They get caught in a two-hour traffic jam. They step into a muddy puddle. Their shirt get snagged and ripped by the door. Their boss scolds them for their crummy attitude. And their ulcers act up by nighttime. They have a dreadful day. Why? Because we're our prophets. Because they expected it to happen, they sensitized their minds to look for bad luck, and subconsciously chased after bad luck just to prove themselves right. (We like to be proven right. Even if it'll destroy us.) Our minds are like computers, and we follow an unbreakable rule: GIGO. That means, "Garbage In, Garbage Out." And we're the programmers of our minds. Because of this, I've made a decision to wake each day with great expectancy. I say, "This is a phenomenal day! I'm going to receive love today. I'm going to give love today and a mighty river of blessings is flowing to me right this moment!" Guess what. It happens. I've learned this very simple law: You get what you see. Many people don't see the blessings - so they don't get them. First things first. you've got to believe that the giant Supermarket of Blessings is all around you. If you don't, you wouldn't even ask. (John 16:24 "Until now you have asked nothing in my name.").
SECOND REJECTION OF BLESSING: BY OUR INACTION
If you think being surrounded by a Giant Supermarket of Blessings is out of this world, wait till you hear this: He's also given you a Giant Factory of Blessings within you. In other words, God has given you the ability to create blessings. This is our core problem: Many of the blessings we're asking from god has already been given to us in raw forms. He has asked us to create them. Let me give you an example. A married couple is drifting apart and are asking God to bless their marriage. But that's all they do - pray, pray and pray some more. They don't spend time together or go for marriage counseling. They don't attend marriage seminars or read marriage books. They don't go out on weekly dates, family picnics and twice-a-year honeymoons. They don't spend time together and dialogue each day to enrich their relationship. In other words, the Giant Factory of Blessings is filled with cobwebs. And when nothing happens, they have the gall to complain to God that He isn't answering their prayers because they're still drifting apart. God will say, "But I've answered your prayer even before you prayed! I've given you the power to create love in your marriage. I've given you the ability to create intimacy and warmth and fire in you relationship. But you're not using your powers." Friends, open yourself to blessing by cooperating with grace. That's just how the universe works.
II. PRAY WITH PERSISTENCE
I've also learned to be unstoppable. Because the universe rewards those who are unstoppable. It's the only way to succeed. If I have a dream in my heart, I don't give up easily. the literal translation of that famous passage in the Bible, "Ask and you shall receive" (Matthew 7:7) is "Keep on asking and you will receive."
Just like that. Just look at your kids. They're unstoppable. The cute one pulls your skirt and says, "Mommy, can you buy me a toy?"
"No!" we scream.
So he says, "Mommy, can you buy me a small toy?"
"No toy!" we say again.
"Mommy, can you buy me a really tiny toy?"
"No toy! Big, small or tiny - No!"
"Mommy, can I just go to the toy store and look at some toys?"
We relent. "Okay."
Soon the little one comes to you with an armload of toys and asks, "Mommy, which one will you buy for me?"
"No, no, no, no, no!" we say with exasperation.
"How about this small one?"
"Okay, how about this tiny one?"
By this time you're so red, you give up and say, "Okaaaaaay!"
Who won? The one who doesn't give up. Jesus also tells the story of a man who wakes up his friend in the middle of the night, pleading - and because of his persistence - his friend gives in to his wish. (Luke 11:5ff) So I too have come in the middle of the night and knocked at heaven's door. And if the door seems to be shut, I come back again and again and again and keep on knocking. I pray. I act. I talk to someone about it. I talk to a hundred people. I try something new. I fail and and I pick myself up. I fail a hundred times and I stand up a hundred times as well. I brainstorm with mentors. I become flexible. But I will not give up until two things happen: I've tried everything humanly possible, or I feel God Himself is telling me in my heart to stop. Then I stop - and go where He leads me. Otherwise, I won't stop. And so should you. That is the only way to succeed.
III. PRAY WITH PRAYER PARTNERS
I've learned that having friends pray for you has powerful effect. Whether the friends are on earth, or the friends are in heaven. Let me tell you a story. One Good Friday, I gave a recollection all morning to 5000 people in ULTRA, a huge stadium in Manila. By noon, I was signing autographs for hundreds of people - but mentally, I was already imagining my soft pillow and cozy bed. Ahhh... You see, it was Holy Week - the busiest time of the year for any preacher. That week I gave three or four talks each day, and I was totally exhausted. I felt like a wet rag that had been squeezed and pulled and wrenched until the last drops of moisture had been wrung out of me. I was ready to sleep until Easter. But that was when my cell phone rang.
"Bo, you've got to come here to the parish!" my mother's shrill voice shattered my eardrums. She was in panic mode, the whole ULTRA stadium can hear her voice. With her words like machine-gun fire, she explained that the parish church was having the Last Seven Words memorial, and no one was going to preach the Third Word.
"Please, please, please come!"
So I ran to my car and drove to the church as fast as I could. Upon parking I heard the speaker say, "And now, we will hear the meditation of the Third Last Word..."
I scrambled to the altar, and though I sort of knew the Seven Last Words, I had no idea which was the Third... I climbed up the steps, smiled at the emcee, and grabbed the list from him. I faced the audience not knowing what I was going to say. I looked at my sheet and couldn't help it. I laughed.
"And the Third Last Word is," I read, "Woman, behold your son; Son, behold your Mother."
"The reason I'm here is because I have a mother."
That Good Friday I preached one more time with passion. I didn't care that I just preached to 5000 people in ULTRA, and there were only a hundred people in that church. I didn't care that I was tired to my toes and my voice was hoarse. My mother asked me to be there, and I went. And I feel that Jesus would do the same. He did it once in the wedding of Cana. And he does it every time we pray to Mama Mary. The Bible says, "The power of a good person has a powerful effect." (James 5:16). Mama Mary is my prayer partner. So are the saints in heaven.
CONCLUSION: USE HIS NAME
One day, a young friend greets me and says, "Brother Bo, can you help me go to the World Youth Day? I need money to go there, but I'm not asking money from you. I need something else."
I said, "Sure. How can I be of help?"
He already had a plan. "I'm going to write a thousand letters, asking a thousand people to help me."
"Do you know a thousand people?"
"No, but that's where you come in," he flashed his teeth at me.
"In each letter, I will simply say that though they don't know me, I'm sure they know Bo Sanchez. Well, I'll simply announce that I'm a friend of Bo Sanchez. And because they know you, could they possibly give Brother Bo's young friend a few pesos to go to World Youth Day?"
I laughed. The young guy in front of me has spunk. In other words, he was going to use my name. And that's what it means to use the name of Jesus in prayer as well. Not that God doesn't know you - and you have to "name drop" Jesus. Here's what it means: To pray in the name of Jesus means to believe that the Father loves you in the same way that He loves Jesus. Pause. Think about that for a while. And declare this powerful truth every time you pray, "In Jesus' Name."