The Mass readings for this first week of Advent are quite rich as they call us to prepare for the coming of Christ, especially from the perspective of prayer. God is reaching out to each one of us, urging us to draw near, let him in and go deeper and build our relationship with him.
Advent is a beautiful time to refocus on prayer with such an increased emphasis on preparing our hearts for the Savior. These five Scripture versus really stand out in reference to that relationship building.
- “Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.” Is 2:3 (First Sunday of Advent, first reading)
Set at the very beginning of the Advent season, this feels like an invitation, to set aside our daily concerns for a time and talk with the Lord. It takes effort, as we have to “climb the mountain,” but it is well worth the effort. When we persevere, God leads us along the way.
- “The Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A Spirit of counsel and of strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.” Is 11:2-3
God’s grace is ever abundant, and he is ready and waiting to pour it out on us. Invoke the Holy Spirit when you pray, and he will lead you. Psalm 37:4 says, “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” God wants to love us, and when we return that love, taking true delight in him, we receive that wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge and fear, and we want to follow him with all our being.
- “… although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.” Lk 10:21b
This is a beautiful and encouraging verse. It does not take a great theologian or saint to pray well. God reveals himself to the childlike, to those who put their trust in him unreservedly, have faith without doubting and love without holding back.
- “The Lord GOD will wipe away
the tears from all faces.” Is 25:8b
It pains God to see us suffer. He wants to comfort us, heal us and love us. Resting in his arms in prayer, uniting our sufferings to that of the Son, can bring purpose, direction and strength.
- “He will be gracious to you when you cry out,
as soon as he hears he will answer you.
The Lord will give you the bread you need
and the water for which you thirst.
No longer will your Teacher hide himself,
but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
While from behind, a voice shall sound in your ears:
‘This is the way; walk in it,’
when you would turn to the right or to the left.” Is 30:19b-21
God hears us, and he loves as a benevolent father. No matter what we have done, he welcomes us back. When we pray, he loves us, grants our needs and guides us on his path. All we have to do is go to him and listen.
Which of these verses resonates with you the most? Try meditating on that verse, and talk about it with God.
I hope the rest of this first week of Advent is incredibly blessed.
Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.