Perseverance in Prayer

Luke 11: 5-13
Mal 3:13-20b / Psa 1

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

Turn to God in our darkest hour,
Persevere in pray’r to be freed
From nature’s destructive pow’r,
Or the forgiveness that we need.

(Jesus) said to (His disciples), “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, who 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?

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 Himself, Who would go to all extremes just to secure our own 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 friend who had come from a long journey, tired and very hungry.

Jesus teaches us in today’s Gospel passage that when we are in dire need, we must implore God, our Father incessantly. It is in persistence and perseverance that our prayers are answered. Most of us believe that our fervent and persistent prayers God answered when the super typhoon ‘Pepeng’ veered away from Central Luzon and spared Metro Manila of further inundation, which would have been catastrophic since the floodwaters brought about by typhoon ‘Ondoy’ had not yet receded in most areas of Metro Manila. Today’s Gospel message, however, is timely and relevant, as we must continue praying for good weather, because other typhoons are forecasted to bring more rains and destruction to the beleaguered capital.

Finally, 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. In our perseverance, how can our Father in heaven refuse, when He is far more generous and loving than any father on earth can be? Jesus tells us to pray as hard as we can, then trust in His Father’s mercy.

Almighty Father, we beg of You to spare our country from further destruction and misery caused by typhoons, floods and earthquakes. Have mercy on Your suffering people, Lord; grant us the grace to mend our ways to conform to Your will. Amen.

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