Persistence in Prayer

Homily for Saturday of the 32nd Week in Ordinary Time

Is there something in your life that you have consistently prayed for and it seems like your prayers have gone unheard? Maybe it is for the healing of physical ailments, the conversion of a loved one, the resolution to some stressful situation at work or in the family or in our country…whatever it is. Is there some impossible situation in your life that it seems like God is just not simply answering your prayers about? If that sounds like you, the message of today’s Gospel is this: don’t give up, keep bringing that situation to the Lord.

In this passage from Luke, we have this story about the woman who keeps pestering the judge to give her a just ruling on her case. She has continually brought it to him and begged him for justice to be done. In the end, the judge rules in her favor because of her perseverance. Jesus then explains that if the judge, who is dishonest, will respond in the woman’s favor because of that persistence, how much more will God, who loves us and cares for us, respond in our favor for our requests?

Now, we might be thinking, “Ok, so if I want Jesus to do something for me, all I have to do is keep pestering him and nagging him about it and He’ll do it.” Not so fast. Because, let’s face it, we all have experienced times when we have prayed for various things that the Lord decides not to answer right away…or at least answer in the way that we want Him to answer. Why doesn’t God answer those prayers even when we persistently run to Him?

There are many things that we as human beings will never be able to totally comprehend about God. We will never fully understand His will or His timing for answering prayers. God has His reasons for allowing things to happen when and where they are supposed to happen. And so, when He doesn’t answer our prayers right away, He has His reasons. But remember Jesus told us “Ask and you shall receive.” I can assure you that He meant it; Jesus doesn’t lie. He just never said ‘immediately’. Sometimes those prayers aren’t answered until we get to the other side of life, until we dwell with Him for all eternity. Because that’s when and how He intends for those prayers to be answered. We simply have to possess a tremendous faith in Jesus.

The important thing for us to realize is that faith is about recognizing Jesus’ identity and placing our lives into His hands. Do we have that faith and trust? Do we truly believe that Jesus is who He says He is? Do we have confidence that the things we pray for will be answered? If not, let’s ask the Lord to increase our faith, even if that takes a little persistence. May we never stop being like children in that persistence and always run to the Lord, entrusting our lives into His hands and asking for His help.

Published by Fr. Tom Pringle

Priest of the Diocese of Orlando. Parochial Vicar at Holy Family Catholic Church, Orlando.

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