This guy was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.
Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”
The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.”
So the rowboat went on.
Then a motorboat came by. “The guy in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”
To this the stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”
So the motorboat went on.
Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”
To this the stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”
So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.
Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. He finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God, at which point he exclaimed, “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”
To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”
God is speaking to us all the time, but we don't know how to listen.
"Ever since the creation of the world his eternal power and divine nature, invisible though they are, have been understood and seen through the things he has made." (Rom 1:20) A sunset speaks of His love for us. "Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (Matt 6:26) Creation speaks of God's love for us. "For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life." (John 3:16) God's love is fully expressed through Jesus. Jesus is both the message and the messenger of God's love and guidance for us. Jesus wants to communicate that love and guidance and does so through prayer, but can use any means in our life to express his love and guidance. It is clearest through reading the gospels during a prayer time, but God can use a sunset, a talk from a friend, coincidences in life and any other means he so chooses. Jesus is the Word of God and we aim to encounter him. Jesus, the person of the Word of God is encountered through the written Word of God, the Bible, particularly in the Gospels. Hence by using the Gospels for prayer we encounter Jesus' own words to us. He wants to speak directly to us through his Word, the Bible.
When we read Jesus' advice to his disciples, we are reading Jesus' advice to us. As we put it into practice we will grow spiritually. Most of the time the advice is obvious, eg "Repent and believe the good news." (Mk 1: 15), means go to confession and stop sinning. This is like the rowboat. It's an obvious way to make progress and we should put our effort into making changes in our life. There are times when we have believed lies about ourselves, such as, "I'm not good enough". The Bible makes it clear to us our true worth and identity, "Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God" (Eph 2:19). Learning these truths about who we are in God and allowing them to transform us and take away the effect of those lies, of anxiety, darkness and gloom is like taking the motorboat. There are times when we might have more personal guidances from God which can come during prayer, but could come at any time. We need to discern (to work out if it is from God or not) these inspirations and this is where discernment comes in. We will explore discernment as one of the key disciplines to be developed as part of the Narrow Way. This is like the helicopter. If we don't take up prayer, reflection and discernment, we will not allow all the good God wishes for us to come into our life and we will not avoid the many mistakes that we could avoid. My grandfather began to walk across a bridge during the war. He remembered he had left his rosary beads behind and so responded to this inspiration and went back to get them. The bridge blew up just where he would have been. His response to that one inspiration saved his life and meant that I could come into existence to write this to you.