“When they rolled away the stone, Jesus lifted his gaze and said, “God, I thank You for hearing me.  I know You always hear me, though I speak these words aloud so those with me believe that you sent me.”

John 11:41-42

Notes for Contemplation as You Use this Devotional:

  • This passage is part of the mystical story about the raising of Lazarus.
  • Jesus prays knowing his oneness with God, the divine connection we all have.  He is grateful for answered prayer in advance because he knows that this divine connection is always strong.
  • To lift our gaze means to lift our vision, or consciousness, beyond the situation for which we pray so we can surrender it to God. 
  • We must roll away the stone which blocks our openness to and acceptance of divine order and outcome.
  • When we pray, our goal is not to change God or beg God to do something for us or others.  Our goal is to feel our own oneness, or divine connection, with God, so our consciousness is lifted.
  • Often, our prayers aren’t for things as much as they’re for assurance, clarity, discernment, and guidance.  For example, if we’re trying to pay off a student loan, mortgage, or other debt, we might buy lots of lottery tickets and pray to win the lottery.  Or, we could pray with gratitude that God is our Source and Sustenance, so all our daily needs are met.  The first way actually limits us to one source, money from the lottery.  But the way of gratitude lifts our vision beyond the debt and affirms infinite resources to create solid financial footing. 
  • In her book, Open Your Mind and Be Healed, Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon, teaches: “Prayer is communion, or common union, between yourself and God. . . . Your prayer is an acknowledgment of the omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence of God.  . . . Know that your prayer lifts you to the realization that God is all there is.  Release your prayer to the Universe and give thanks for the desired results.  God will direct you from this point.”

Contemplation Questions:

Ask yourself:

  • When I reflect on my life now, what are my prayers?
    • List, word map, or illustrate all your prayers.  
  • When I reflect on my prayers, how am I limiting them and/or focusing most of my attention on the challenges?
    • List, word map, or illustrate any limitations (such as the lottery as your only source of income) you notice.
  • In what ways, if any, am I begging God and/or trying to give God directions about how my prayers “should” be answered? 
    • List, word map, or illustrate whatever applies.
  • How would my prayers sound if I restated them with fewer specifics and more gratitude for God’s goodness in, around, and through every aspect of my life?
    • List, word map, or illustrate your new prayers.
  • When I am still and silent, 
    • In what ways do I feel more assured?
    • What is becoming clear to me?
    • What am I discerning?
    • To which people, places, and things am I being guided?
      • For each of these, list, word map, or illustrate everything which applies.
  • When I reflect on my own assurance, clarity, discernment, and guidance, what answers am I receiving?
    • List, word map, or illustrate all apparent answers.
  • What steps am I willing to take to follow through on the answers I have received?
    • List, word map, or illustrate all the steps, even if they seem challenging.
    • Then, as appropriate, contemplate the order in which those steps can be taken.  Here, think of first things first.
  • If I don’t yet have at least one (1) prayer partner, who are some people I can connect with for prayer?
    • Note who they are.
    • Note what you are willing to do to at least establish a once weekly prayer time with them.

Work with this devotional continually and keep it nearby during your prayer times as a reminder to remove any blocks in your own thinking and to keep your vision lifted.  Also, affirm your gratitude as Jesus did.  Or say something like: ”I am grateful that all my needs are met and all my prayers are answered.”  Then, as much as possible, detach from having to know how all the prayers will be answered, because how is God’s job.  Instead, stay open to listening for assurance, clarity, discernment, and guidance, whether from your own still, small voice, or through the trusted wise counsel of others.

© 2021 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks – All rights reserved.

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