One day, a lady was giving some lessons to her little nephew.
He was generally a good, attentive child.
>> But on this occasion he could not fix his mind on the lessons.
The child had actually lost one of his favourite marbles and was disturbed by it.
So after a little while of distraction, the little boy suddenly said: “Aunty, may I kneel down and ask God to help me find my marble?”
His aunt gave her consent.
>> The little boy knelt by his chair, closed his eyes, and prayed silently.
Then he rose and went on with his lessons contentedly.
Next day, with fear that the child had not found his toy, and so might lose his simple faith, the lady gently asked him: “Well, dear, have you found your marble?”
“No, Aunty,” was the reply, “but God has made me not want to!”
What a beautiful reply, isn’t it?
God does not always answer our prayers in the way we wish or expect!
But if we are sincere in our prayers to Him…
>> “He will take from us the desire for what is contrary to His Will…
… and give us faith and hope to leave all to His Holy Will!”
What is our understanding of Prayer?
The Gospel of the Day is a beautiful invitation…
… To understand Prayer
… And to grow in being a Person of Prayer
The Gospel passage begins with Jesus “praying in a certain place” (Lk 11: 1a)…
… and His disciples asking Him, “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk 11: 1b)
Here is an interesting notion that is observed even in our daily lives: EMULATION
EMULATION is a quality prevalent in many areas of our life…
>> A child emulates the styles and mannerisms of the parents
>> A student emulates the virtues of his/her teacher and forms an ideal
>> Lovers seek to emulate qualities in the other to be more and more like them
>> People emulate the style statements and lifestyles of their heroes (role models)
The disciples of every Jewish Rabbi also had a deep desire to emulate their Master.
>> This included how the Rabbi appeared, his eating styles, his Sabbath observational manners, what he liked and disliked, his mannerisms and his preferences.
>> The Rabbi would also teach and emphasize certain aspects of the prayers that he considered most important, depending on his outlook and approach to God.
Thus, we see the disciples of Jesus, the Rabbi also come to Him… to emulate Him
>> They had seen their Master often resorting to long hours of prayer
>> They had observed their Master interceding to the Father on important occasions
>> They had experienced their Master as One Who was in communion with the Father through prayer
And so, seeing their Master in prayer – wanting to emulate Him – they ask Him, “Lord, teach us to pray…” (Lk 11: 1b)
Here is also an important lesson for us…
>> Do we want our children to pray?
… As parents, we must be rooted in prayer and children should see us praying
>> Do we want our parishes to be more vibrant and co-operative?
… The priests especially and the faithful should live as persons of prayer
>> Do we want our religious communities to be houses of peace and joy?
… The community members have a bounden duty to spend time in personal and community prayer
As Christians, we have a duty to be Persons of Prayer…
… being in communion with the Father
… seeking His Will at all times
… living joyfully, knowing that the Father cares for us
The relationship that Jesus emphasizes in prayer is that of God as a Father…
>> A Loving Father
… Who cares and loves us much!
>> A Merciful Father
… Who never abandons us and always wants us to be close to Him!
>> A Providential Father
… Who knows the needs of His children and provides the best for them, always!
>> A Concerned Father
… Who is more concerned of us than we ourselves and thus will always…always protect us!
What is therefore needed in prayer, “is a raising of one’s heart to the Father in love”
Jesus in the Gospel, further teaches on prayer, through a parable:
>> A friend who knocks at the door of his friend at an odd hour in the night, seeking for help (Lk 11: 5-8)
The man had an unforeseen guest, and so he went to his friend seeking for help
This man had the goodwill to serve his guest…
…but did not have the resources to help.
Very often, we ourselves land up into such situations, isn’t it?
We have “guests” coming in different forms….
>> People with problems and difficulties who approach us for help and assistance
>> Moments of uncertainty and insecurity that diverts our minds to it
>> Situations of sicknesses or crisis which seek our attention
In all those situations, we ask ourselves: “What can I do?”
But we need to realise and be convinced: “The best thing a Christian can do… is to pray!”
In all moments of hardships and difficulties…
… we need to rush to God, our Great Neighbour and cry out to Him, “A friend has come, and I have nothing to set before him.“
Such moments become occasions when we realise…
… Necessity for God and Dependence of God are two essential constituents of Prayer
We thus become Persons of Prayer…
… the more we sense the need for God in our life and the more we depend on Him
… the more we know that God is everything for us and the more we know He knows what’s best for us!
Of course, it does not mean that God, our Great neighbour, is sleeping and that He has to be awakened from his slumber…
… or that He has to be forced to render us help.
The point of the parable is that: When we realise we have a Friend Who is most needed for me and on Whom I can depend on…
… Whatever be the time of my life, I will go to Him
… Whatever be the situation I face in life, I present myself to Him
Thus prayer becomes…
… not simply an exercise or an obligation to be fulfilled
… not simply a remedial measure in our moments of struggle
But prayer becomes…
… a time of sharing and presenting ourselves, always, to the Lord seeking His Will
… a moment when we love the Lord more and perceive His plan for us in our life
… a time of self-introspection to weed away anything unbecoming of His Love
The Lord is a Loving Father, Who loves our prayer not because of hard-heartedness..
… but because He thirsts that we spend more time with Him, in His presence!
God’s Love for us… is and ought to become the greatest reason for us to pray!
And so Jesus says, “Ask, Seek and Knock” (Lk 11: 9)
>> Ask… to come to know that we depend on God for everything
>> Seek… to continually declare that we wish His Will to be done in our lives
>> Knock… to surrender ourselves to Him knowing that He is always available for us!
Prayer, is thus, always influential and transformative…
… making us to bend our wills to His Will
… causing us to amend our ways, to have our lives resonant with His Will
Yes, if we are sincere in our prayers to Him…
>> “He will take from us the desire for what is contrary to His Will…
… and give us Faith and Hope, to leave all to His Holy Will!”
Let us give to the words of St Teresa of Avila:
“Provided that we don’t give up, the Lord will guide everything for our benefit…!
There is no other remedy for this evil of giving up prayer than to begin again!”
May the Lord help us to grow in our understanding of prayer and to always be Persons of Prayer!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “Retire at various times into the solitude of your own heart, even while outwardly engaged in discussions or transactions with others…
… and talk to God!”