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A struggle with God

No evangelist insists so much on the subject of prayer as Luke. He remembers that Jesus prayed seven times. 

In addition to these records, Luke also reports five prayers of Jesus including, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34) and—his last words before he died—“Father, into your hands I commend my spirit” (Luke 23:46). 

It is enough to show that the whole life of Jesus was marked by prayer.

He did not pray to ask favours or get a discount on the difficulties of life. He did not ask God to change his plans, but to show him his will, to make it his own and fulfill it. 

One day the apostles approach Jesus and ask him to compose a prayer for them. Responding to this demand he teaches them the Our Father.

Many Christians exclaim that this is the most beautiful of all prayers! Because it was spoken by Jesus. 

For Christians, God is the Father, by whom they have been thought of and loved “before being formed in secret, woven in the depths of the earth” (Psalm 139:15). 

When they turn to him—standing (not kneeling)—they call him Father. They appeal to him directly and with confidence. 

After having presented the model of Christian prayer, Jesus tells the parable of a man who, with great insistence, went to ask a friend to give him three loaves.

This story intends to teach that prayer gets results only if it is prolonged. Not because God wants to be asked for a long time before granting something, but because man is slow to assimilate God’s thoughts and feelings.

Our prayers seem to be attempts to persuade God to change his plan. We would like him to comply with our ideas. If we talk with him at length, we eventually understand his love and accept his designs.

Prayer does not change God; it opens our minds and changes our hearts. This inner transformation cannot be realised—except by improbable miracles—in a few moments.

The ways of God are not always easy and pleasant; they require conversions, efforts, renouncements and sacrifices.

To reach the interior adherence to the will of the Lord, to get to see with our own eyes the events of our lives we must pray… for a long time.

The theme of the insistence in prayer is resumed through three images: to ask, to seek, to knock. 

Prayer always produces prodigious and unexpected results. But we do not cultivate false hopes. 

Outside of ourselves, the reality will remain the same as before, but inside everything will be different. 

Although the mind and heart are no longer the same, the look with which we contemplate our situation, the world and people changes; purer, more divine-like, the prayer has a result; it has been heard.

Having recovered serenity and inner peace, even moral and psychological wounds and organic diseases will quickly heal more easily.

 

• Father Fernando Armellini SCJ  
Claretian Publications
https://sundaycommentaries.wordpress.com