Pray with Perseverance

Luke 11: 5-13
Gal 3: 1-5 / Luke 1

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 11:13)


What supplication could be denied
When prayed in humble submission?
His Holy Spirit will provide
For God is full of compassion.

Then Jesus 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

Those who were listening to the story of Jesus understood the dire predicament of the man who was visited by his friend from a long journey. He had to find bread for his visitor at any cost, because failing to show hospitality to his weary visitor was tantamount to a great failing and a disgraceful reputation. That was why he was willing to go to shameless lengths – waking up his neighbor and his whole household at midnight – to beg for bread!

The message of our Lord in this parable is that when we need something, we must ask and seek for it with perseverance, even without shame; knocking continuously until the one from whom we are seeking a favor surrenders to our will. And we can be so bold only because what we are asking or praying for is not for ourselves but for the benefit of other people. Our Lord is saying that our prayers are more effective when they are petitions for the sake of others, because in such cases our prayers are acts of mercy.

Pleas for mercy are always hard to ignore or refuse. One of the brothers in our “Days with the Lord” community who is already based in Zambales asked for financial help for his medication and hospital bills. As one of the hundreds who had taken our week-end seminars, he was practically a stranger to me, but I sent the needed amount anyway to help the poor fellow. Barely a week had passed when he contacted me again, begging for more to buy much-needed medicines. At first I ignored him because he told me the money I had sent was already enough. But the young man persisted in his calls and text messages, saying he had no one else to turn to, and believed that I was his only recourse. Eventually, because of his perseverance, I returned to the money transfer shop to send him again what he needed.

In our perseverance, Jesus tells us that our Father in heaven will not refuse to answer our prayers. He is far more generous and compassionate than any father on earth can ever be. If ever we do not receive what we are praying for, it may be because our Father in heaven has something better to give us. In most cases, He will “give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.” What gift can ever be better than the wisdom of the Holy Spirit? Finally, Jesus is telling us that whatever the situation we are in, we just have to trust in His Father’s mercy.

Almighty Father, grant us the grace to pray with a trusting heart, to believe that even before we pray You already know what is good for us. Amen.

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