Bold Faith And Perseverance
I love the readings from Mass today, especially Genesis (18:20~32) and the Gospel (Luke 11:1~13). The running themes seem to be faith and perseverance in prayer, and underlying it all is God's tremendous love for each of us. I find these readings to be a little boost for my prayer life~ Abraham, the Apostles and Jesus Himself all being such great examples of faith and perseverance.
The reading from Genesis always makes me grin a bit. I love Abraham"s gutsy negotiations with God. It could only be his deep faith and knowledge of God's love for him that gave him the courage to speak so bravely to our Creator!
In the Gospel passage,we have the Apostles desire to pray. Now being the good Jews that they were, I am sure they prayed before this, but they had been with Jesus and had seen Him pray. Their desire now seemed to be not simply to pray as they had been, but they saw something in Jesus' prayer that they didn't have~ relationship with the Father. They knew that when Jesus went off to pray, He was going to be with and speak with His Father. They wanted this too. So when Jesus is asked by them to teach them to pray, I think what they were really asking was, "Teach us to pray as You pray." And Jesus did just that in telling them to pray Abba Father.
The Our Father has always been one of my favorite prayers because it contains everything. It praises and blesses God and His holy name, it petitions and asks not only for our daily bread, but for God's will to be done. It gives us the trust and faith of Abraham in daring to ask God for forgiveness, and finally like all children, we want and need to protected from danger and so the words are given for this as well.
Praying this prayer reminds me of something our late pastor taught about the different types and reasons for prayer. He did it in the form of simple questions.
1. What do you say when love someone? I love you (Adoration)
2. What do you say when you want or need something? Please... (Petition)
3. What do you say when you have done something wrong? I am sorry. (Pardon)
4. What do you say when you receive something? Thank you. (Thanksgiving)
With the exception of thanksgiving (I think God leaves that part up to us),all of these things are wrapped up in the Lord's prayer.
May we have the desire of the Apostles to speak to God in prayer, and the faith of Abraham to boldly ask God for what we truly need and want. If our prayer is sincere, we will be able to respond as the Psalmist today, trusting in God's love for us, "Lord, on the day I called for help, You answered me." (Psalm 137/138)