THEME: What We Do in Prayer

BY: Fr. Luke Ijezie.



Exodus 17:8-13
Resp. Psalm 121:1-8
2Timothy 3:14 – 4:2
Luke 18:1-8

Sometimes, I find myself wondering and pondering such questions as: Why do we pray? If God already knows our needs before ever we pray, why does He not come to help us unless we pray? Do we need to remind Him that some people are hungry or that some people are being oppressed or suffering? As a loving Father, why does He not rescue before we ask? Hmmmm! The readings of this 29th Sunday of the year provoke these questions and more.

1. These questions may seem like the thoughts of one who is lazy at prayer, but they are very deep questions. Even Jesus says in Matt 6:7-8: “In your prayers do not babble as the gentiles do, for they think that by using many words they will make themselves heard. Do not be like them; your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” But wait a minute! Does Jesus really ask us not to pray much? Jesus himself spent hours praying, and in certain situations, he spent the whole night praying. He even encourages his disciples to pray without ceasing, in season and out of season.

Prayer is a powerful key that opens securely locked doors. It is a very mysterious activity, as it is a union with God. It is the wings with which one flies to God. Prayer is a way of letting God know that all we are and have or acquire come from Him and that without Him we are nothing. So in prayer, we surrender ourselves whole and entire to God.
We do not need to babble, to shout or to multiply words, since He already knows what we want to say. Prayer is not only about words, it is a conversation with God, and as conversation, it is communing with God, even in silence. We talk and also allow God to talk to us. It is an act of raising oneself up to God.

2. The first reading of today from Exod 17:8-13 presents to us the interesting drama of Israel’s victory over Amalek, achieved through the continued raising of the hand of Moses to God, which is an acknowledgement of God’s immense power.

3. In the Gospel text from Luke 18:1-8, Jesus tells his disciples a parable, which is aimed at letting them to pray and not lose heart. The fact is that before ever we ask, God has already decided to give us what we ask of him in prayer. What we do in prayer, then, is to show we need these things. Prayer disposes us to receive what God gives as coming from God and it also helps us to accept God’s will for us.

4. The best place to understand the workings of prayer and the responses of God is the Bible. A good acquaintance with the Bible or Sacred Scripture equips one to understand God’s mode and method of operation. That is why Paul urges Timothy to devote his life reading and preaching the word of God in Scripture. The fact is that all Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2Tim 3:16-17).
Through the Scriptures, the man of God learns how to teach and correct others and how to commune with God.
5. If we started this reflection by wondering why we pray, we can end it by wondering why we do not pray as often as we should, considering all the great things God has promised to give us through prayer. In prayer we touch the being and reality of God, and make Him do for us what humanly would appear impossible.
May the Spirit of God continue to inspire us to rise to greater heights in prayer!

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