An Everyday Prayer

July 15, 2017

“Lord, open my eyes. Lord, open my ears. Help me to see and to hear your goodness and compassion.”

This prayer, formed out of Jesus’ words contained in Luke 10:24, makes a worthy prayer for the day.

It is common to be weary of squabbling, angry voices, and the apparent unwillingness to talk through differences. It is exhausting to live in a world of sound bites that polarize, and of “fake news” that seeks not to inform, but to inflame. Each day, there is news of another bombing, another murder, another death that could have and should have been prevented. The ugliest parts of this world seem to get all the attention. It is draining. It wrings the joy out of faith. It saps the hope that what is held in faith really matters at all.

“Lord, open my eyes. Lord, open my ears. Help me to see and to hear your goodness and compassion.”

In today’s Gospel reading, Jesus had sent out seventy-two followers to proclaim the coming of God’s Kingdom. This message was accompanied by miracles of healing, but also words of judgment. They are hard words to hear because they sound a lot like the angry voices of today. Yet, when the seventy-two return, they are full of joy, because they have witnessed the demons themselves submit to those who brought the message of God.

Jesus receives them, affirms them, but also gives a corrective that continues to encourage those who read these words. “Do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven” (Luke 10:20).

At the risk of sounding trite or too simple, those words of Jesus are of words of comfort. “…rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

The psalmist writes,

“Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down” (Psalm 145:13–14, NIV).

The seventy-two were sent out by Jesus. They believed that they were sent to make a difference in people’s lives. It’s true that Jesus sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom, to heal the sick, and even to proclaim judgment, but their identity was not to be found in what they did. Their joy was to be found in what Jesus had done for them.

For those who are motivated by a desire to make a difference and to bring positive change in this world, there will be times of discouragement and the sense of failure, because even a small victory seems to be followed with loss. Life can sometimes feel like walking up a down escalator.

Thank God there’s more to this life than this life.

It could be said that knowing that God’s kingdom is an everlasting kingdom or having the knowledge that your name is written in heaven could make us care less and disengage from this life. Yet, if truly understood, if eyes are opened and ears can hear the knowledge that God’s kingdom lasts forever and that those who believe in Him have a place in that kingdom through Jesus, it gives strength and renewed resolution that today matters, because Jesus has given this day—and every day—meaning. It means that the ugliest parts of this world will not last. It means that there is and will continue to be healing and restoration in Jesus’ name, both now and forever.

So, pray, “Lord, open my eyes. Lord, open my ears. Help me to see and to hear your goodness and compassion.”

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