Persistence in Prayer

Luke 18: 1-8
3 Jn. 5-8 / Ps 112

I tell you, God will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?
(Luke 18: 8)

A prayerful heart is tranquil,
Confident that God hears its plea;
All our requests God will fulfill
If we but pray persistently.

Then Jesus told His disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared about men. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’ For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’ And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for His chosen ones, who cry out to Him day and night? Will He be slow to answer them? I tell you, God will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:1-8)

Reflection

Our Lord taught this parable to impress upon His disciples the importance of praying without ceasing until they had received what they were praying for. It was meant to highlight the truth that if a corrupt judge could relent and give in to the persistence of a widow, wouldn’t our God, Who is a loving and compassionate Father listen to the prayers of His children? “Will He be slow to answer them? I tell you, God will see that they get justice, and quickly” (Lk. 18:7). Our God is a God of justice Who rewards the virtuous and punishes all wrongs. However, unlike the corrupt judge that Jesus cites in His parable, our God is also a God of mercy and compassion Who sees to it that all things will work for our good.

I visited my cousin in the hospital who had a mild heart attack after discovering that his son (outside wedlock) who was under the influence of drugs had viciously murdered his fiancee’. The siblings of the victim had included him as principal in their charge sheet. Policemen stood guard at his hospital door, ready to whisk him to jail the moment he was sufficiently recovered. It seemed as if the whole world had conspired against him and he did not know where to turn. He had reached the ultimate crossroads in his life, I told him. “The path to the left is despair, and to the right is prayer, persistent prayer. God will never refuse the prayers of a desperate man, lest he falls into despair, so you must believe that your and our prayers will prevail.” My cousin was incarcerated without bail for a year, even as there was no evidence to support the charge filed against him. The corrupt judge in the parable only rendered a just decision in favor of the widow out of fear– “so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!” (Luke 18:5). On the other hand, I believe that the judge in my cousin’s case finally relented to grant him bail because of our persistent prayers in his behalf. Jesus said, “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?” Thank God for His gift of faith; it is what makes us heed the message in today’s Gospel – that we must pray, and pray continuously, so that our loving Father will grant our pleas.

Most merciful Father, we fervently pray for Your guidance during these uncertain times when evil men threaten the very stability and peace of our family, our church, and the institutions of society. We pray for the power of your grace, dear God, to influence all our officials in government, especially those in our justice system to be steadfast in the implementation of their sacred duties, and in resisting the temptations and/or coercions of evil men. Let your Holy Spirit shield them, Lord, with Your gifts of courage, prudence, integrity and wisdom. This we pray in Jesus’ Name. AMEN.

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