Insistent and persevering in prayer  

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala - The Freeman

It’s interesting to note that in the gospel, there is a part where Christ teaches his disciples how to pray, giving them “Our Father,” and then follows it with the advice to be insistent and persevering in prayer in spite of what may appear as divine rebuff at the beginning. (cfr. Lk 11,1-13)

“Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you,” he says. And he offers the reason for such advice: “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg.” He reassures us that “everyone who asks, receives. And the one who seeks, finds. And to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” (9-12)

This should be the attitude to have when we have to ask for a favor from God. No matter how hard or even impossible our requests would seem, we should not hesitate to go to God to present such petition. God will always listen and answers us in the way that is best for us, which may not be the one we like or expect.

We should never think that we are bothering God by asking for some favors. Our prayers will never go unnoticed with God who is all generous with us. In fact, he will give us much more than what we may be asking for.

So, let’s just be insistent and persevering in our prayer. Besides, doing so will eventually give us new lights, insights and impulses that will leave us amazed at the goodness and kindness of God, his mercy and all-embracing love. It will rekindle or at least fan into a flame our dying fire of love for God and for others.

When we persevere in meditating on the words of God found in the gospel, for example, we would be astonished at how old familiar passages and ideas acquire new meaning and open to us practically a whole new world of insights that can inspire us to action and different initiatives.

And if God seems to ignore us, we have to realize that he is simply testing us for a number of reasons --to strengthen our faith, to purify our intentions, to grow in the other virtues, etc. But to be sure, God is never indifferent to our needs. He is always solicitous. He even knows more of our needs than we do, and makes provision for them. It’s rather us who do not notice what God is giving and doing for us most of the time.

Obviously, for our prayer to be insistent and persevering in spite of what may appears as God’s initial indifference to our requests, we need to spend some moments of special and serious conversation with him, like some period of mental prayer, meditating on God’s word, having recourse to the sacraments, etc. These are like the refueling process that helps us to continue going on with our spiritual life.

The important thing to remember is that we should never give up on our prayer. Rather, let us always sharpen our dispositions for prayer. We need to make our faith alive, making it more incarnated rather than simply lingering in the abstract sphere. We have to strengthen our spirit of sacrifice and mortification. We cannot persevere in prayer if we remain weak in body and, worse, in the will.


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