Call louder. . . . Perhaps he is asleep and must be awakened. 

What do you do to get someone’s attention?   Shout?   Jump up and down?   Shake them?   Sometimes nothing works, and that’s exactly what happened in today’s first reading.

The prophets of Baal tried everything to rouse their god:  they shouted and hopped around their altar for hours;  they even slashed themselves with swords, to no avail.   Of course, we know that Baal didn’t respond because he wasn’t real.   Elijah, on the other hand, prayed a simple prayer to the God of Israel—and God answered.

We all have times when we relate to God as the prophets of Baal did.   When prayer seems dry or God feels far off, we might think,  “If only I prayed longer or better or tried harder.   Then God would pay attention or come close to me or answer my prayers.”

But is this true?   How should we draw near to God?   Elijah gives us three clues: Remember.  Speak simply.  Trust God.

Remember.

When Elijah built his altar of stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel, he reminded the Israelites of who they were:  the people God had chosen.   He reminded them that their God was the God they had known for generations:  the faithful One who sees, and hears, and answers his people.   Remember that you are chosen and loved by this same faithful God.

Speak simply.

Elijah used simple, direct language in speaking to God.   You don’t need perfect words or impressive rituals to get God to hear your prayers.   Have confidence and speak plainly to your Father.

Trust God.

Elijah believed God would answer his prayer on Mount Carmel, and God responded dramatically.   Sometimes, though, God answers prayers in ways that are unexpected, even undesired.   What then?   Trust the Lord, and wait.   Continue to remember and speak simply:  Lord, you are my hope.   I believe you hear my prayers.   I trust you to answer me and bring good out of this situation.

You don’t need to jump through hoops to please God and get his attention.   You don’t need to beg him to draw near to you.   He is already close, and he loves you so much that he wants to hear all that is on your heart—today and always.

word among us