Jesus is “a man of the greatest prayer” (SV.EN IX:326). Because of him only, we try hard to be men and women of prayer.
“Christ is constantly before the Father in prayer.” His good example prompts one of the disciples to ask, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.” Right away, he teaches them the prayer that characterizes Christians.
Our prayer, however, will characterize us as Christians only if we live up to what we say. We call God Father. Do we really have the faith conviction that more than any earthly father, our heavenly Father seeks the best for us? He wants us to help and forgive one another as good brothers and sisters.
We should go to him with unshakeable confidence, shamelessly bold in our persistence. Our prayer will be sheer verbiage unless we stop worrying about our needs. Our heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him, and our daily bread and other things besides.
Before the Lord of heaven and earth, we will recognize our being like wholly dependent children. We will thank him for his revelations. We will present ourselves without any claim to wisdom. By God’s grace, we will resist the temptations coming from the learned who call for a more sophisticated faith. We will believe unflaggingly that our Father is none other than the Almighty who creates out of nothing and makes a virgin or a barren woman give birth.
We adults depend on our heavenly Father also.
Not even our good works justify us. Justification is due to God alone. We will contradict what we say in prayer if we refuse to help a woman in need because we find her undeserving. We will effectively deny that we are children of our heavenly Father who causes rain to fall on the just and unjust. We will end up questioning the teaching that when we were dead in transgressions, God brought us to life with Christ.
No one of us, really, is righteous before the Most Holy God. Hence, instead of exalting ourselves in prayer, we should humble ourselves. And in the face of our injustice, indifference and violence, we cannot but pray and strive that God’s name be hallowed and his kingdom of justice, mercy and peace come.
In summary, to pray as Jesus has taught us is to be one with him.
He lives as he prays. Though hanging on cross and feeling that God has forsaken him, he still commends his spirit into his hands. His example gives us courage to do what he did. He gave his body up and shed his blood for others, relying on the one who has the power to raise the dead to life. Without Jesus, we have no prayer.
July 24, 2016
17th Sunday in O.T. (C)
Gen 18, 18-22; Col 2, 12-14; Lk 11, 1-13