Ten years after Mother Teresa of Calcutta died, a book was released called Come Be My Light: The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta. The book caught the world’s spotlight as it revealed a side of Mother Teresa no one had known about – a side of deep spiritual struggle. In writings to her superiors, Teresa spoke of the great distance she felt from God during all of her work caring for the most destitute in Calcutta. She especially expressed how hard it was to pray, that at times “the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear.”
Do you ever feel frustrated with prayer?
The writings of Mother Teresa, someone viewed as spiritually esteemed, show that feeling frustrated with prayer is more common than we may think.
Can you relate with any of these frustrations?
– I don’t feel like I hear anything back from God.
– I don’t know how to pray.
– It doesn’t seem to be necessary in my life.
– It’s hard to make time and space in my life to pray.
– I’m not sure God is interested.
Prayer is a mysterious endeavor. It’s a continuous conversation with our Creator. It takes silence and stillness to hear God’s voice. It takes faith to believe our prayers are being heard. It takes humility to follow and trust God’s will instead of our own. It can be difficult, and there’s no reason to be shy about it.
In Matthew 6:5-13, Jesus teaches us how to pray. He assures us that God does not care how loud, long, or elegant our prayers are – and that God already knows what we need before we even ask him.
Read the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:5–13 and consider how this can be a model for prayer in your daily life:
The core of Jesus’ prayer is for God’s will to be done on earth – for earth to be more like God’s perfect kingdom. In the Message version of the Bible, it reads “Set the world right; Do what’s best – as above, so below.”
What would it look like for the world to be set right in your world
– in your life, in your community, and in our world?
Take time to complete the prayer activity for “Pray” found on the next page. Then continue reading.
Last week, we explored some of the distractions that keep us from experiencing life to its fullest as God intends us to live. This week’s challenge is to consider how prayer helps experience life to its fullest when we pray for a world set right. Let’s do this by using the Lord’s Prayer as a model.
Youth from Armenia, Albania, Lebanon, Romania, and Pakistan are all coming together to take a stand for the issues evident in their communities. In each of these countries, a group of students is taking part in Photo Voice, a program that trains youth in the art of storytelling through photography. Students learn how to tell stories and take better photographs, while also identifying major issues within their communities.
As they go through their day, the youth take photographs of what they see, experience, and learn. These photographs capture both the joy and hardships in everyday life, showing an honest look at what each young adult experiences within their communities.
Though the culture and experiences are different many of the students, in the five countries where Photo Voice is established, have chosen to focus on a similar issue: Human Trafficking. By photographing the environments they live in and the people around them, the youth are speaking up about what is right and wrong, shedding light onto areas generally unseen.
In Albania, the youth have created a book of aphotographs on the issue of human trafficking, while the youth in Pakistan and Lebanon have both held photo galleries to share with others in the community what they see. By being aware of their surroundings and engaging with others, the youth are calling out the issues in their communities, and looking more closely at what in their world needs to be set right. They are not ignoring the problem, but finding their voice through photography, and calling attention to areas that need change.
This week’s challenge:
Think critically about what God’s kingdom on earth would look like in your community.
What are the people, places, or things in need of restoration? What issues are prevalent in your community?
Brainstorm these answers in your small community and take a photo of what could be set right in your community. Then upload these photo with a prayer for each on our global sharing platform.