God Inspires Us to Pray & Act
Oct 21, 2019
In today’s first reading the Israelites are battling Amalek and his army. Moses stands on a hill overlooking the battle. He has the staff of God in his hand. As long as he keeps the staff raised above his head the Israelites had the better of the fight. When Moses lowered his hands Amalek’s army had the advantage. Finally to assure the victory, Aaron and Hur supported Moses arms to keep the staff of God raised above his head. In all of this I find myself wondering what Moses was thinking. I am sure that to begin with he was concerned with how the Israelites were doing in their battle. But as the battle continued I suspect he became more concerned about how heavy the staff was and how sore his arms were becoming. To accomplish what God required Moses needed the help of two others who could support his arms even as the battle raged on.
Even though Moses had the support of the two, I wonder if he still didn’t find himself becoming more concerned about his arms. That staff had to become very heavy as the hours passed. I can imagine that the muscles in his arms began cramping up and his joints began to complain. Yet for the sake of the Israelite army Moses had to continue to hold that staff above his head. As the pain grew I suspect that Moses thought less about the battle and more about himself. The question of the battle would have ultimately focused on when it would be finished.
There are several aspects of prayer that I think this story points towards. The first is that prayer can be hard. I admire the group of prayers who come to Wednesday morning Mass who pray the rosary together as we begin Eucharistic adoration. Praying together supports each individual in their offering of prayer to God. I also appreciate those who pray the rosary before our Sunday Masses. Again it becomes a community event that supports each individual in their communication with God. Prayer can take time. As Jesus points out in today’s Gospel of the unjust judge he finally renders a judgement because of the widow’s persistence. The answers to prayer are often times not instantaneous but require that we keep our focus on the One who can answer them. Prayers are effective. As long as Moses kept the staff raised above his head the Israelites had the advantage. The battle itself had to take place, but Moses intervention made all the difference. Often times when I am celebrating the funeral of a grandparent I will hear the grandchildren talk about how powerfully the grandparent’s prayers mattered in their life. Finally, prayer can take different forms. Who would think holding a cane above one’s head would make such a difference? Couldn’t Moses just say a novena and that could make the difference? God inspires all prayer and we have to pay attention to what He is calling us to. One person’s prayer may not be another person’s way of communicating the presence of God. Our task is to appreciate each way that God inspires others to pray as well as to act on the way God calls each of us into prayer.