Let Us Persevere in Pray!
Readings: 1st: Gen 18:20 -32; Ps: 137:1-3. 6-8; 2nd: Col 1:12-14; Gos: Lk 11:1-13
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
On this seventeenth Sunday of ordinary time, the Church draws our attention to the need to always turn to God in prayers in all life circumstances. She reminds us that prayer is the key to unlocking and entering the heart of God. Today, Christ himself gives us this key to success. He teaches us how to pray, as well as encourages us to pray without ceasing.
In today’s first reading, Abraham, our father in faith, demonstrated extraordinary courage. Without fear, he approached God and boldly interceded on behalf of Lot, his nephew. He stood in the gap for Lot’s Family in Sodom and Gomorrah. Through this, he demonstrated that he was a great intercessor.
Abraham teaches us that we must intercede for others in prayers. We must not underestimate the power of the prayer of intercession. There is a saying that: “God governs the world, while prayer governs God.” Through our intercession, God can save the righteous, heal the sick, and deliver those in all types of danger. It does not matter how far they are from us because the distance is not a barrier for God to hear us or act on our behalf.
In the second reading, Paul reminds us of our redemption in Christ. He reminds us that this was possible due to our faith in God, who raised Jesus from the dead. Therefore, it is through this same faith that we must constantly approach God our Father in prayer. Through this same faith, we must intercede for others, especially for our world in chaos.
Today’s gospel is an explicit call to pray. The wise disciple humbly implored Christ: “Lord teach us how to pray.” He is like the man who says: “Do not give me fish! Rather, teach me how to fish.” Today Christ prayed and also taught us how to pray. Our Lord’s Prayer has been the subject of unnecessary debate. Some have argued that it is not prayer itself but a model of how to pray. There is no need for this argument. This is because through this prayer, mountains have been moved, and lives have been transformed.
Today, Jesus taught us that prayer is a necessary tool for us. All we need is to be persistent, patient, and humble. Unfortunately, most of us do not tarry and travail in prayer, yet we want mountains to be moved on our behalf. The reason is simple, we have lost faith in prayer and consequently in God.
If we must achieve any success in our mission, we must revive our prayer life and burn with the zeal to pray. Therefore, like the disciple in today’s gospel, we must humbly implore Jesus: “Lord teach us how to pray.” Prayer is a “simple project” that accomplishes much. It is also a thing of the spirit. Hence, Paul reminds us: “We do not know what to pray for, but the Spirit intercedes for us in groans that words cannot express” (Rom 8:26). So, we must constantly ask the Spirit of Jesus to help us to pray. Also, it is important to note that if we pray according to the will and mind of God, He will hear us.
Finally, our God never goes to sleep. He knows when, where, and how to respond. Therefore, we must not give up the habit of praying and interceding for one another because prayer unlocks the heart of God. It breaks barriers and brings down the power of God. Jesus himself started his ministry with prayer and ended it with prayer. If we preserver in prayer, we shall gladly testify: “On the day I called, you answered me, O Lord!”
Peace be with you all!