Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent. ’For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
A man from the back mountains of Tennessee found himself one day in a large city, for the first time standing outside an elevator. He watched as an old, haggard woman hobbled on, and the doors closed. A few minutes later the doors opened and a young, attractive woman marched smartly off. The father hollered to his youngest son, “Billy, go get mother.”
Unlike the elevator story, God actually uses prayer to change you. So when you pray “thy will be done,” you are transformed. But, if you stopped there, you would be leaving out half the story. The Gospels talk not only about submitting to God’s will, but also about asking God for what you need. Prayer is both about asking and surrendering. Think of the concepts “ask and you shall receive” and “thy will be done” as bookends to prayer. Most people either focus on “ask” with little thought of surrendering to his will, or they resign themselves with “thy will be done” and seldom ask at all.
In the Scriptures, Jesus prays by asking and surrendering. In a remarkable paradox, God doesn’t want either extreme–always asking or always submitting. What He wants is a dynamic mixture of the two. Today ask God for anything. Pray for the grace of genuine surrender. And remember “not to lose heart.”
–The Jesuit Prayer Team
Lord, you tell us to “pray always and not to lose heart.” Sometimes when our prayers go unanswered and we simply cannot see the dawn of hope, we question the value of prayer. Yet if we persist in prayer, we discover that the ultimate answer to all prayer is relationship with you.
Lord, we trust that prayer transforms us for that which weighs us down becomes the impetus for drawing us closer to you. And in this unity of Spirit we know that at the most elemental level, all will be well. And so we pray the words you spoke from the cross, “Into your hands I commend my Spirit.”
—The Jesuit Prayer Team