XVII- O.T.: Gen18:20-32,
2: 12-14, Lk 11:1-13 Col
It is a feature of Luke’s gospel that Jesus is often to be found praying. And, it is no surprise that having observed this frequent activity of Jesus, his disciples are moved to want to pray like him. So, Jesus takes the opportunity not only to teach them a prayer, but also to teach them the way to pray: .
In this parable Jesus puts the granting of the man’s request down to his ‘persistence’, and it is a particular type of persistence, an impudent or shameless persistence. It seems as if the reward comes to the man because he is shameless in asking and not simply because he persevered.
We might be able to see what to make of this interpretation if we look at Abraham’s entreaty in the book of Genesis that God not destroy the city of
Abraham knows how impertinent he is being in this dialogue with God, for he
uses such rhetoric as he perseveres in asking for more and more. Sodom
Abraham knows he is trying his luck with God, but he keeps going. He is shameless in his persistence. Although Abraham seems to be trying to manipulate God through his skillful bargaining and humble, persistent intercession, God is actually being moved to mercy by the goodness of a few innocent souls.According to Jesus, prayer is a child-father affair. It is a family affair based on a relationship of familiarity and love. Jesus uses the imagery of father here in order to correct the dominant image of God as the boss or the king who is to be revered rather than loved.
Jesus has come to deepen our understanding of what it means to have a relationship with God. Jesus teaches us that prayer is about simply and confidently calling God, Father. And because he is our Father, we can be bold and persistent. When children speak to their parents, there is hardly a right or wrong way. They simply focus on one thing, to put into words and body language what they feel in the heart.So prayer is an activity that flows out of a relationship. We do not learn how to pray better, we become better women and men of prayer when our relationship with God becomes more intimate like that of father and child. If you want to improve your prayer, focus on improving your personal relationship with God, our Father.
A colleague asked C.S. Lewis if he really thought he could change God with his prayer for the cure of his wife’s cancer. Lewis replied: "Prayer doesn't change God; it changes me." William McGill summed it up this way. "The value of persistent prayer is not that God will hear us but that we will finally hear God." Keep in mind that Jesus has taught us to address God as Father. A loving Father listens to his child, but he does not blindly endorse every request. Instead, the loving Father provides what is needed, including discipline. God always answers prayer, some times it may be a NO. Bishop Sheen has this comment on prayer: "The man who thinks only of himself says prayers of petition. He who thinks of his neighbor says prayers of intercession (like Abraham). He who thinks only of loving and serving God says prayers of abandonment to God's will, and that is the prayer of the saints."
Prayer is the lifeblood of an intimate relationship with the Father. But believers often have questions about its power and effectiveness.
Will God’s plans fail if I don’t pray? God is not subservient to believers or dependent upon their prayers. The time we invest in speaking with Him involves us in the work that He is doing in our lives and in the world, but He will carry on without us. Laboring alongside the Lord is our privilege.
Does my prayer (or lack thereof) impact God’s work? Scripture indicates the answer to this question is both yes and no, depending upon the situation. There are times when God’s purpose is set. He is in control and has determined the best course. In the Old Testament, the Lord often prophesied what He would do and then brought those events to pass.
In other cases, “you do not have because you do not ask” (James 4:2). There are some good things that He holds back until we put out prayerful hands to receive them. But because God is a loving Father, He also pours our blessings that we wouldn’t even think to request.A mother sent her fifth grade boy up to bed. In a few minutes she went to make sure that he was getting in bed. When she stuck her head into his room, she saw that he was kneeling beside his bed in prayer. Pausing to listen to his prayers, she heard her son praying over and over again. "Let it be
When he finished his prayers, she asked him, "What did you mean, ‘Let it be
"Oh," the boy said with embarrassment, "we had our geography exam today and I was praying that God would make
Prayer is not a magical means by which we get God to do what we want. Prayer is an inner openness to God which allows his divine power to be released in us. Ultimately, the power of prayer is not that we succeed in changing God, but that God succeeds in changing us.
Prayer is essential for Christian family life. To remain faithful in marriage, the spouses need to pray, not only individually, but together. They need to thank God and to offer intercessory prayers for each other, for their children and for their dear ones. Daily prayer will help married couples to celebrate and reverence God’s vision of human sexuality and to honor life from conception to natural death. Here is
John Marie Vianney’s advice to a couple: "Spend three minutes
praising and thanking God for all you have. Spend three minutes asking God’s
pardon for your sins and presenting your needs before Him. Spend three minutes
reading the Bible and listening to God in silence. And do this every day."
Let us not allow lame excuses to turn us away from prayer: Prayer expresses our awareness of our need for God and our dependence on Him. The deeper our dependence on him, the more genuine our prayer will be.