Persistence in Prayer

The Readings and Gospel for today’s commentary come from Genesis 18: 20-32, St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians 2: 12-14 and the Gospel of Luke chapter 11: 1-13. The three readings all point to the importance in our persistence in prayer.

During a mass homily for these readings, the Priest shared a cute story of persistence and how it pays off. He goes on to say: “There is a story told of the two frogs that fell into a bucket of cream. They tried very hard to get out by climbing up the side of the bucket. But each time they slipped back again. Finally, one frog said, “We’ll never get out of here. I give up.” So down he went and drowned. The other frog decided to keep trying. Again, and again he tried to climb with front legs and kicked with his back legs. He had almost lost his strength and his tired feet could hardly move. He said to himself, “Now…now my end has come…I am going to drown.” Then suddenly, he hit something hard. He turned to see what it was behind him and discovered that all his kicking had churned up a lump of butter! He hopped on top of it and leaped out to safety. It was perseverance in his effort that saved the second frog.” (Fr. Xavior)

In the Gospel of Luke 11: 1-13, the Disciples watch Jesus pray and they ask Jesus how to pray. They see how much prayer means to him. Impressed, one of them comes forward and says to him, “Lord, teach us to pray…” In response, Jesus does more than he is asked, for he teaches them what to pray for, how to pray and what results they can expect from their prayer. He begins by sharing the Lord’s Prayer with them. Then Jesus completes his lesson on prayer by telling two parables. The first urges us to persist in prayer. The second reminds us that we do not always pray for the right things. God knows best how our prayers should be answered. So, when we pray, we must approach God as His children, praise God and His holy name and ask that His kingdom be realized; we should ask for what is needful for the day, acknowledge our sinfulness, ask for forgiveness, forgive others, and pray that we be not tempted. The prayer tells us how to respond to God’s love for us and it also tells us how we should treat our neighbor.

The second section in the Gospel speaks of perseverance in prayer – especially in intercessory or asking prayer. Jesus tells a story about a man who wants to be hospitable and is asking his neighbor to lend him some food to give his guests. When he doesn’t get the response he wants from his neighbor, he asks again and again until he breaks the neighbor down and does get what he wants. Jesus praises the man for his persistence in asking. The major lesson here then is to have persistence in asking God for what we want.

The final section reinforces that need for persistence in prayer. Jesus concludes his teaching by saying that if you ask, it will be given to you; if you search, you will find; and if you knock, the door will be opened to you. Prayer is not just a formula of words and rituals. Prayer is the awareness of God as the source of all that is good and the ultimate fulfillment of life’s journey. When we persevere in our prayers, we are essentially putting our complete trust in the Lord. We are going to God helplessly and presenting our requests to Him. Very often we are discouraged when we see our prayers are not answered.  Some people even leave their faith and God for not receiving what they asked for. It is true, sometimes when we ask God to open the door for us and see it does not happen, we are disappointed. But, please remember, though the door is not opened before us, God will open at least a window for us and He knows that it will be enough for us in that situation. And also all prayers are answered by God in His own way. Even at the critical moments the prayers of  Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and on the cross were not answered  the way he wished. But Jesus didn’t give up his faith in the Heavenly Father.

Credits: Fr. Xavior

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