In today’s Gospel the parable of the persistent widow is introduced as a parable about prayer and not losing heart; it then moves into a story about justice and ends with a question about faith, as always setting a challenge before us.
I must admit that I do not always find prayer easy. Growing up, like many, I learned a series of prayers by heart and could rhyme them off on request without taking a moment to dwell on the words, sentiment or meaning.
We repeat prayers frequently, but they do not seem to put us in authentic communication with God. We can know many prayers, but we find it hard to pray. At times I wish I could have heard the Apostles pray. I often wonder what they prayed for and how they prayed? I think that when they prayed, they reflected on every word their friend Jesus spoke and on every deed of his. After all, what is Scripture if not the life of Jesus Christ in the Apostles’ own words?
Prayer is not a one-way street with God. The purpose of prayer is not to change God’s mind, but to change ourselves, and we can be slow to move. It is not my opportunity to get a word in, on my terms with my Lord and King. It is not like a visit to my therapist or psychologist or counsellor, where I do all the talking (bargaining or complaining) and He does all the listening and understanding. It is much more than that. It is a time to be in God, with God and through God. If I want to know more about God, then I need to pray. If I want to learn more about myself, then I need to pray. If I want to make the right decisions in my life, then I need to pray.
So even though I may find it difficult at times, persevering in prayer teaches me that God does not need to be informed of my needs. Rather, it is I who will notice that I am learning to trust God more, as I become more open to whatever God asks of me and my loved ones, for God wants nothing but what is good for me.
So, my prayer today is, ‘Lord, you are my refuge. Strengthen my persistence when I lose heart. Grant me the wisdom to know that when I come to you in trust and confidence you will respond.’