Perseverance in Prayer

Luke 11: 5-13
Gal 3: 1-5 / Lk 1: 69-75

. . . he will give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.
(Luke 11:8)

We may not receive in prayer
When we ask for some material need,
But God will give His Spirit’s power
If it’s for others we intercede.

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11: 5-13)

Reflection

The story might seem ridiculous or funny to us, but for the people in the Middle East, especially during Jesus’ time, one would go to extreme measures for a visiting friend even if it meant pestering his neighbor in the middle of the night for a few loaves of bread. Doesn’t this compare to our own Filipino culture of hospitality? I remember the time when my wife and I visited her aunt, and she toured us around her beautiful home. We were attracted to a pair of aztec masks hanging on a wall and noted how well they gave accent to that corner. At the end of our visit, my wife’s aunt surprised us with a gift. We were shocked even more when we unwrapped it at home to find the pair of aztec masks. My wife said, “It’s an old Tagalog tradition.”

The guest in Jesus’ story was fortunate to have a friend who would go to shameless lengths (even at an ungodly hour) just to be able to provide for his nourishment. I believe the importunate friend in this story was Jesus Christ Himself, Who would go to all extremes just to provide for our salvation. And in His story, He is teaching us that against all odds, our prayers will prevail if only we persist and persevere. This is because true prayer springs from a sense of critical need, and usually, not for our own benefit but for others, as in the case of the host’s friend who had come from a long journey, tired and very hungry. When we pray, we must not only ask, but we must also go out and seek for the solution; and when we have found it, we must knock continually on the door of opportunity until it is opened to us. Finally, Jesus tells us to trust in His Father’s mercy, because if a man can give in to an importunate friend’s request, how much more a father to his own son? And all the more, how can our Father in heaven refuse, when He is far more generous and loving than any father on earth can be? Finally, if God our Father can deem us worthy to receive the Holy Spirit, His greatest gift aside from His Son, how can He refuse us anything less?

Almighty Father, may our prayers conform always to Your will, reminding us that if some are not granted, it is because You have something better in store. Amen.

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