Sorry I've been away for a few days. We had a virus at our house that just wouldn't leave. I think we finally kicked it this weekend. So, I'm back, feeling better than I have in days physically but somewhat depleted and deflated spiritually. I had really been going strong with my Lenten spiritual reading and, in some ways, I was feeling the effects. There was a sense of underlying peace even as I went about my crazy days. Then the virus hit -- first Olivia, then Chiara, then Noah, then me, then Noah a second time. Only Dennis escaped unscathed. Although I carried my spiritual reading and prayer book around the house with me, I just couldn't focus on anything. And with each passing day I felt myself slipping backward a bit. Even my little Lenten sacrifices seemed more difficult, less meaningful the farther I got from my prayer life. I made a misstep here and a misstep there until I finally stopped and realized that the prayer and reading really had been making a difference.
So today I came crawling back to God, groveling and asking for help to get back on track. I hung my head, spiritually speaking, and decided to start at square one. I picked up The Little Black Book that is one of my Lenten guides. Today's reflection was about having "shamelessness" in our prayer, being willing to go back to God again and again and again, like a pesky child begging a parent for something.
Jesus tells us to be persistent. Speaking of a man who goes to his friend at midnight asking for bread, he says, "I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence." (Luke 7-8)
The Little Black Book asks: "What does this mean?...Does God need to be cajoled into doing what we want?" No, God does not answer our prayers because we are skillful at asking, it says. He answers our prayers because we are "shameless in asking."
My spirit was buoyed. Maybe there was a method to my madness. It's rare that shameless persistence is such a positive thing, so I'm going to run with this one -- straight to God.