Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

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Ex 17:8-13
2 Tm 3:14-4:2
Lk 18:1-8

Persistence in Prayer

What is your prayer life like? Are you a 911 person who prays only when there is an emergency or difficult time in your life? Or are you a GPS person who uses God as a God Distancing System who asks God to show you the way when you are lost or seem unsure? Or are you like the persistent widow in Sunday’s gospel who never gives up requesting things?

In the gospel Jesus tells a parable that teaches us about the importance of persistence in prayer. In the parable an unjust judge grants a widow’s request for a just decision because she keeps asking time and time again. Her constant badgering eventually wears down the judge who gives in to her request.

God is not like the unjust judge who just gives in or is coerced because of the woman’s persistence. The point is that God always listens to our prayerful requests. God welcomes our prayers and wants to hear about our needs, problems and situations.

We may not always get the results or answers to our requests that we want but our faith tells us that God is always with us and does care for everything about us. God does listen. There is a country western song by Garth Brooks entitled “Thank God for Unanswered Prayers.” Often what we think we need is not going to help us. It’s often in retrospect that we see the value of a painful situation or a need that in the end wasn’t good for us. The lesson of the parable is about the persistence of the one who prays. God wants us to be like the persistent widow, being a person who stays in relationship with God, confident that God hears and answers prayers. Prayer is not a one shot deal!

As an aside to the point of the parable of persistence in always requesting God’s help, we should be faith-filled followers of Jesus who pray in other ways besides always asking for something. We should pray words of thanks for God’s presence and loving care. We should praise God for all God is and creates in our cosmic world. We should be humble and admit our weakness and sins. And maybe most importantly, we should be quiet and listen to what God is saying to us.

How would you describe your prayer life?

In what way can you change or add a new way to pray?

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