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I am sure that once upon a time in your life, you happened to open a folded paper, and the folded paper contains something like this: “Pray this prayer nine times for nine consecutive days and reproduce nine times this prayer sheet and give it to a friend. Give it to a stranger and your prayer will be answered. This has always been proven effective. Do not ignore this because you are ignoring an opportunity to have your prayer answered.”
You have read something like that? Even at the EDSA Shrine, sometimes pieces of paper with that prayer abound. You know, when I see a folded paper at the Holy Water font, on top of the crucified Christ, or under the statue of the Blessed Mother, in public, I tear them to pieces. I want you to see me actually tearing them to pieces because this practice is a sin. It is superstitious. That is not how Jesus taught us to pray.
For two thousand years, the Lord has been telling us, do not just babble words when praying. But for two thousand years, people have believed that words of man can change God’s mind. The right number of words can change God. Words of men and women can change the heart of God. But if we were listening closely to the words of God today, what the Lord is saying is: no words of men can change God. What the Lord is saying is the Word of God has changed men. We cannot change God. If we listened to the Word of God, we would understand that the intention of the Word of God is to change us. The first fruit of prayer is not that God changes His mind. The first fruit of prayer is that the one who prays has a change of heart. Jesus Christ never taught us that the words of men and women like you and me can change God. Rather, what God teaches is that the Word of God is so effective that it can change even the most hardened human heart.
If the season of Lent is to be a season of prayer, at the end of Lent or even at the beginning of Lent, we must change because we prayed. Do not ask God to change because we have prayed. When we pray, we must open our heart to the Lord and let our prayer change us.
PRAYER AND CHANGE
Love Like Jesus