about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.'”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
When I was incarcerated I took this parable by our Lord literally. Everyday of the almost six years that I was imprisoned I cried out to God to be delivered and, true to His word, three years before my sentence was completed, God did for me what everyone of persecutors and detractors said could not be done. God answered my prayer in a way that I would never have thought or imagined to ask for, and He did it at a time that was perfect for everyone. Not only did I pray to God every morning to have mercy on me, but I often fasted, did novenas, implored the intercession of the saints, Rosary upon Rosary, Divine Chaplet upon Divine Mercy Chaplet, and every other way I could get God to hear me I did, but in the end it was just his grace and magnanimous compassion that opened those prison doors for me.
The other day a woman asked, “I’ve been praying for a situation but why does it seem God is allowing things to get worse?” I answered her, “Sometimes ‘things getting worse’ is just God cleaning up the mess we made and clearing out the clutter (things/people) that we don’t need in our lives, before He reestablishes us. You heard it said things will get worse before they get better? Just consider the Israelites being delivered from slavery in Egypt (answered prayer 400 years later), but then having to spend another hard 40 years in the hot desert before they were allowed to enter into their Promised Land. Stay patient and prayerful and trust that God will worked it out in a way that you would have never known to ask for.
I have found at least four benefits to Persistent Prayer:
- Persistent Prayer allows the time needed for our own will be reconciled to the will of God. Sometimes we ask for things that are not good for us, but the more we ask God for things that harm us, the more influential the Spirit of God in us becomes in informing us about what we ought to be praying for. This is how prayer matures over time if you regularly practice it. The things we ask for during the early phrases of our Life with the Cross should not be the things we are asking for the nearer we draw to Mount Calvary.
- Persistent Prayer allows for our heart to be tested. When God allows us to cry out day and night for the same thing what happens is that, first, He tests us to make sure that we believe that that which we are asking for is something that what we truly need, and, second, He gives us a special grace to fall into suffering love for that which we ask, and, lastly, after a period of suffering He gives us the desires of our heart.
- Persistent Prayer allows for God to show us how we can Cooperate with Him in that which we ask for. For example, like many faithful Jews, Mary, Joseph, Peter, Paul and many others were praying persistently for the long awaited Messiah to come, and not only did God answer their prayer, but He immersed them into it so that they became the answer to their own prayer. Mother Teresa prayed persistently for the suffering in India, and God gave her to be the answer to her own prayer. In all well-run Catholic Churches there is a persistent prayer of the faithful for a response to vocations, and what happens in those Churches is that the faithful end up responding to their own vocation prayer.
- Persistent Prayer is the best solution for everything! Prayer is simply an invitation to God to get into our business and do something. Therefore, when prayer is persistent, it serves are an undying petition to God to get into the situation and stay there. In other words, Persistent Prayer is our way of asking God to keep coming back into the situation. Moreover, when we Cooperate with God by persistently inviting Him into our business we are simultaneously telling Satan that he is not welcome in our business any longer.
Therefore, the call of today’s Gospel is for us to be encouraged to cry to God everyday for those things that trouble our soul; for He is trustworthy, merciful, and always has our best intentions in mind. God will always work it out for you if you trust In Him!
Lord Jesus, you told us that your Father honors persistent prayer,
therefore, give me the grace to lovingly cry out to you in prayer, day and night.
PSALMS 121:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8
I lift up my eyes toward the mountains;
whence shall help come to me?
My help is from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
May he not suffer your foot to slip;
may he slumber not who guards you:
indeed he neither slumbers nor sleeps,
the guardian of Israel.
The LORD is your guardian; the LORD is your shade;
he is beside you at your right hand.
The sun shall not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The LORD will guard you from all evil;
he will guard your life.
The LORD will guard your coming and your going,
both now and forever.
Scripture texts in this blog are taken from the New American Bible with Revised New Testament and Revised Psalms © 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C. and are used by permission of the copyright owner. All Rights Reserved. No part of the New American Bible may be reproduced in any form without permission in writing from the copyright owner.