Sunday, July 24, 2016

“The function of prayer is not to influence God, but rather to change the nature of the one who prays.”

Gospel Text: (LK 11:1-13)
Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished,
one of his disciples said to him,
"Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples."
He said to them, "When you pray, say:
Father, hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come.
Give us each day our daily bread
and forgive us our sins
for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us,
and do not subject us to the final test."

And he said to them, "Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
'Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,'
and he says in reply from within,
'Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.'
I tell you,
if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.

"And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven
give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?"

When we knock on the door to God's heart seeking help for our inadequacies, the Father gives us his fully adequate Holy Spirit. And that's not all we get! Whenever we pray, this Holy Spirit connects us to the Father and to Jesus. Therefore, every prayer increases our holiness, brings us closer to God and empowers us to be more like Jesus. But holiness does not come quickly nor easily. We must be persistent in our prayer lives. We must continually rely on God's Spirit in order to resist temptations and grow in faith.

No matter what we ask God to share with us, including the material things that we need or desire, God wants to use it to nourish our souls. This is what we ask for when we pray, "Give us this day our daily bread." Be persistent. Receiving God's bread usually doesn't happen overnight (we're slow learners).

A question to reflect on: How much do you rely on the Holy Spirit's help in your daily life?

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