Jeremiah 31:27-34; Psalm 119:97-104; (or Genesis 32:22-31; Psalm 121); 2 Timothy 3:14-4:5; Luke 18:1-8
“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.” – Hal Borland
We pray for health, but there is still a spot on the x-ray. We pray for peace, but the troops still do not come home, except in body bags. In the Lord’s Prayer we pray for our daily bread, yet some of us starve daily. In today’s Gospel Jesus tells us a parable about the need to pray always (Luke 18:1). It is a story about a persistent widow pleading with an unjust judge. Her doggedness pays off in the end. At the end Jesus says that if this unfair judge grants the widow her case, how much more so would God grant justice to those who cry to him day and night (Luke 18:7). Notice that Jesus does not say that God will grant whatever we want, but will give “justice.” Even if we are asking for true justice, we often want results at the snap of a finger. We live in an age of fast foods, instant communications, and rapid transit. We don’t have the patience to watch a tree grow to maturity. Also, we sometimes miss the mark in our prayers. We don’t know what is truly essential. We might pray that there be no terrorism, but we don’t pray for a remedy to the conditions that lead people to be terrorists. Or we might pray for homeless people, but never think about praying that we personally come up with solutions and do something about it. We want a miracle but not personal involvement. If we pray always as Jesus asks, we will gradually be more in line with the mind of God, and God’s timing. We don’t have persistence in prayer as if God needs constant reminders. God is not a dimwit. Also, prayer is not mere entreaty, not just about asking for things, no matter how noble. We pray always so as to have a spiritual solidarity with others and with God. Solidarity is more important than an instant answer to our requests.
In Luke 18:5 the unjust judge says that the widow will “wear him out” if he does not give her what she wants. The Greek literally means “give a black eye.” The word figuratively means annoy greatly, pester or wear out. How many black eyes do we figuratively give while thinking we are not violent?
till merged one with God’s intent,
constantly in prayer.