Jesus asks us to pray, “Ask … Seek … Knock …” There is a persistence in this request of Jesus. But we frankly reflect on the distraction that many times we have prayed and our prayers do not seem to be answered!
Firstly, sometimes our prayers are answered by a heavenly reason as a “NO!” Reflect on what parents need to do when adolescents ask for permission for something that the parents know will not be good for them. Perhaps God is answering our prayers with a ‘no’ in that same sense.
Secondly, we should note that the last thought in today’s gospel is the “Golden Rule.” Perhaps our prayers are selfish and we should be praying not so much for our own needs but the needs of others.
Thirdly, we can pray in the mood that Queen Esther did in our first reading. She humbly asks the Lord to protect her people as she places herself in “harm’s way” to persuade the king to be merciful. We also should come to the Lord humbly aware of our need for his help but yet aware that we have no entitlement to receiving it. We simply place our trust in what we hope for from the Lord. This abandonment to divine providence helps us remember all the good the Lord gives us is a gift which we do not deserve.
So we place our prayers humbly before the Lord, praying for our needs and the needs of others, knowing that the Lord is still full of mercy and compassion and will do what is best for us. Meanwhile we should continue to “Do to others whatever we would have them do for us!”
By Paul Mahowald