THE POWER OF PERSEVERANCE AND PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER
⏰Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
📖Exod 17:8-13; Psalm 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8; 2Tim 3:14-4:2; Luke 18:1-8
🎤THE POWER OF PERSEVERANCE AND PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER
Prayer is a major theme that runs through the readings that we have in todays liturgy. The first reading and the Gospel brings out two very important dispositions that are needed for our prayers to be very effective. Those important dispositions include perseverance and persistence.
It is true that our salvation does not so much depend on our effort since it is a GIFT of God to us and not what we MERIT through our effort. All we have in life, including our salvation only becomes possible through the love of God (cf. John 3:16; Rom 5:8). Yet, we need to co-operate with the grace of God for us in order to have this salvation and all other things he promised us be bequeathed to us. A good illustration of this comes from the relationship between the child and his parents. As the child grows up, he comes to terms with the fact that his parents provide all his needs out of the love they have for him. But with time, he also learns that there are things that he could equally do for himself and this includes begging his parents for certain things that he needs.
The people of Israel had a similar relationship with God as the relationship between a child and his parents. God always provided for their needs and protected them against their enemies. In return for this favour, he expects them to have absolute faith in him and carry out all his ordinances. In the first reading of today, God’s providence was unequivocally revealed. It is God who won the victory over the Amalekites but Joshua had to lead Gods army on and Moses had to keep his hand raised up in supplication to God. However, what was more significant in that story is that as long as Moses kept his hands up, the Israelites kept winning but when he brings it down, they would begin to lose. Nonetheless, they did not fold their hands waiting for the Lord to just win the war for them without doing anything; Joshua had to lead the people to war. That is why it is important to maintain the WORK AND PRAY disposition. We must work as if there is no God to help and pray as if our entire life depends on God.
While we pray, we must not forget that the purpose of our prayer is getting to know the will of God and having it done in our lives. So it is the WILL OF GOD that is important and not our own will. We might be praying to gain a favour from God but it might not be his will to grant us that favour immediately, perhaps, for some greater favour. The Gospel tells us of the need to keep praying without losing heart, hoping that God would hearken to our needs. If the unjust judge would grant the widow justice due to her persistence, how much more would the just God not do for us when we pray continually without ceasing.
In the second reading, St. Paul reminds Timothy of the importance of remaining close to God through the constant study of the Scriptures. It is through the study of the scriptures that we can discover the will of God. More so, St. Jerome tells us that ignorance of the scripture is ignorance of Christ. There is no way we can pray well if we do not know him whom we call upon.
May God help us to understand well, the importance of prayer in our lives so that we may always be one with the will of God for us. Amen.