I will not let You go unless You bless me – H.H. Pope Shenouda III

pope shenouda

 

Come back to God once more. Come back to him with prayer. And what is prayer? Pour out your heart before God and say to Him: 2O Lord, I want you. I want to come back to You. Please rescue me from my state and draw me back to You once again.

Without you I am nothing. When I lost you, I lost my life. I lost my happiness and delight. My life became without any meaning or interest.”

Pour yourself out before God and say, “I want to come back to you, O Lord”, but “my enemies are stronger than me ” (Ps. 38:9). “Many are they who say of me, ‘There is no help for him in God.'”. (Ps. 3:2).

Come back to God and say, “Lord, You carry me. And return me to You once more.” Tell him, “I lost my strength when I went far away from You. Give me some of Your strength. Please give me the divine assistance to help me to return to You.”

Many people say, “We want to return to God. How do we return?” Cast yourself before Him.

Cast yourself before the Lord and wrestle with Him and say to Him: ‘I shall not get up from here unless I have received Your special blessing and feel that You have taken me back and counted me among your children.

I do not just want You to forgive my sin, I want You to remove from my heart any love of sin, once and for all.”

Tell him, “Lord I cannot come back to You, if there is any love of sin in my heart. Take the love of sin from my heart. It’s not that I will leave sin and come back to you, its that You will come and remove the love of sin from me. If it were within my power to abandon the love of sin, I would have returned to You long ago.

But I want you to make me leave it. I want You to give me power. I want You to lead me in the procession of your victory.

Take any desire to sin from my heart and remove any domination which sin might have over my will. “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow” . (Ps. 51:7).

Just as you have given me the instruction to return, O Lord, give me the strength to carry it out.

Believe me my brethren, the person whose is successful at prayer is the person whose repentance succeeds.

Mar Isaac was truly right when he said, “If anyone believes there is a path to repentance except through prayer, he is deceived by demons.” Because through prayer you receive the power to return to God.

Therefore, force yourself in prayer more than in any other work. Because through prayer, you remove the separating wall between you and God, so that you may return to him once more.

It is amazing how many people prefer the service more than prayer. And reading more than prayer. And contemplation more than prayer. And attending religious gatherings more than prayer. That is why they fail in their relationship with God.

They therefore pray, read, have a service and attend their meetings, but are separated from God. There is no relationship.

Instead, come back to God.

Come back to God and take from Him.

Some people think that in prayer, you are the one giving to God. You give him words, you give him time, you give him emotions.

But in reality, prayer in its true depth is a process of taking from God. He is the Giver, not the taker.

The person who prays and feels that he has taken from God, is the one who succeeds in their prayer.

The person who prays and feels that he has received power from God, is the one who succeeds in their prayer.

The person who prays and receives blessings from God, is the one who succeeds in their prayer.

The person who prays and receives repentance from God, is the one who succeeds in their prayer.

The person who prays and receives holiness in their life from God, is the one who succeeds in their prayer.

The person who prays and receives a spiritual connection between themselves and God, is the one who succeeds in their prayer.

This is prayer.

God is telling you to come, come and pray so that I may give to you. And you stand for two minutes, and get bored, and get frustrated, and leave your prayer without taking anything from Him. And God looks at you and marvels, my son, why did you leave so quickly without taking? I was about to give to you. Why did you leave so quickly? Why did you leave before I could give to you?

You got bored and left. Thats fine, leave. But then you start looking for God, and cannot find Him.

And not only did you leave without receiving anything; you left thinking you had given God a few minutes of your time. You go to your spiritual chart for the day and check off “prayer.” This is not prayer. What did you receive from God?

You need to hold onto God and tell Him, “I am not leaving You.” 

This is why prayer needs patience. Without patience, you do not receive anything. You have to be patient in your prayers.  Tell him, “Lord I’m standing before You, and I don’t want to leave You until You’ve given me what I want. If I don’t receive, I will keep holding onto You. I will not let You go, unless you bless me. I held Him, and did not let Him go.

This is what struggle is in prayer.

People haven’t learned how to pray. They think prayer is to say a couple of words and then you’re gone. Or to pray as you walk away. No, this won’t work my beloved.

Pray to God and receive from Him. And if you don’t receive? Say to Him, “I’m not leaving You today. No matter what, I’m not leaving You. I won’t leave You. They say you’re the kind and compassionate God, and they say to ask and you shall receive – well, I’ve asked, and I won’t leave until I receive.”

Keep this contest between you and God, and this struggle in your prayers. And so, you will receive comfort from your prayers, and your heart will be filled with love, and you will become fervent in your prayers without “repeating vainly like the Gentiles.” Instead you will pour yourself out as an offering before God. 

Just as Hannah the mother of Samuel used to pray. She used to pray a prayer, and weep a weeping, and vow a vow, and she did not leave the temple until she had received a promise that she would have a son.

David the Prophet did not leave God until he had received. He used to pray saying, “Lord, why have they who afflict me multiplied?” (Psalm 3:1) And then he would say, “Turn away from me all you who do iniquity, for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. The Lord has accepted my prayer.” (Psalm 6:8-9).

But didn’t you said before, “Lord do not rebuke me with your anger and do not chasten me with your wrath” (Psalm 6:1)? Not this, was at the beginning. “Why have they who afflict me multiplied” was before. But now I have received. 

He said, “I laid down and slept then I arose because the Lord is my helper. I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people who arise against me.” (Psalm 3:5-6). Why? Because I’ve received power. In the beginning I said they who have afflicted me have multiplied, but now I have received power. I’ve received reassurance. I haven’t left God.

[H.H. Pope Shenouda III, Return to God] 

2 thoughts on “I will not let You go unless You bless me – H.H. Pope Shenouda III

  1. Pingback: I will not let You go unless You bless me – H.H. Pope Shenouda III – Serenity For Life

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