“And will not God vindicate his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?” (Luke 18:7)
For many of us Christians, prayer is like work. We think of prayer as some hectic activity like carrying bags of cement. A lot of us grumble when we are reminded to pray and a good number doze off immediately they begin to pray. This is a very serious problem. We are like children living abroad who grumble each time we are reminded to speak to our parents back home.
I have heard some persons who claim that this attitude to prayer is a sign of demonic spiritual arrest, but this is a pure lie. The strategy of our modern-day men and women of God is to make demons look so powerful in the eyes of the people. This is how they get to control reasonable individuals, by making them believe they are under bondage (except the very rich ones, of course) and that every headache is a result of demonic forces. Let me tell you the truth: The real bondage is being a member of a church where the pastor doesn’t talk about the power of God, but is always talking about demonic powers and demonic influences as if he or she is a member of satan’s cult.
We do not enjoy praying because we do not understand prayer. We do not know that prayer is our moment of intimacy with God. We do not pray because we do not know how much power we wield when the name of Jesus is mentioned. We do not pray because we rush our prayers, we do not apply faith to the words we utter, we pray without expectation. We have prayed wrongly in the past and did not get what we prayed for. So as pragmatic individuals, we stopped trusting the efficacy of our prayers.
Dear friends, the greatest obstacle to an active prayer life is a utilitarian approach to prayer. Get this: Prayer is not a tool, it is in itself a nourishment for our lives physically, psychologically and spiritually. Prayer is therapy. Prayer is medicine. Prayer is best health tip. Prayer is fun. Prayer is life. When we pray, we should not be so concerned about the outcome of prayer; about getting this or that or solving this problem or that issue. Enjoy prayer by itself, enjoy your communion with God. Approach prayer like a newlywed couple would approach the marriage bed; they are not thinking of the outcome, but the joy of the experience itself.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus used the parable of the unjust judge to teach us the importance of persistence in prayer. Never Give up on prayer. Never turn your back on God. Forget about solving your problems and just worship God as our Psalmist today sings: “remember the wonders the Lord has done, never forget His good deeds.” Deliberately remember what God has done for you already and show appreciation.
The book of Wisdom where our first reading today comes from sings of the glory of God in all creation. One good way to begin praying is to just examine the beauty of nature, the wonder of creation, the rhythm of morning and evening, the trees, the rivers, the sun, the rain, the stars, the atmosphere around you. Think of these things and think of the one who created and sustains them all. You will naturally slide into prayer. In the end, if the only prayer you ever say is “Thank you” it is more than enough.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, when I don’t feel like praying, teach me to worship you from my heart. Amen.
Bible Study: Wisdom 18:14-16.19:6-9, Psalm 105 and Luke 18:1-8).