“Pray without Becoming Weary” by Sherin Alex, Fiat Ventures

Flickr User Connor Tarter

Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus tells the disciples a parable about the need to pray without becoming weary, and to be persistent in their prayer. Great, so the take home for us must be that if we pray persistently for example to win the lottery, there will be a lot of Benjamins in our future. Right? 

Well not quite; and actually that isn’t really the type of situation Jesus is describing.  He’s talking more along the lines of tough situations, where we’re looking for God to intervene, and to be with us in our suffering.

Have you ever prayed really hard for something and given up because you felt you were not heard? If we feel that our prayer isn’t answered, it can even lead us to question whether God exists. We begin to ask: if God hears my prayer, why would He allow this to happen to me?

That’s a pretty deep question that Christians have wrestled with for 2,000 years, so I’m not sure how good of an answer I’ll be able to give here. But here’s an experience I’ve had myself, with this very question.

Years ago, my close friend’s sister, at the age of 7, got very sick. At the time, the doctors told her family that she had no chance of surviving this illness. Her parents, a family of strong faith, prayed, asking God for healing for their daughter if it was in His will, and miraculously, she was healed! By the grace of God, she was living a healthy life and although she had to continue taking medication, she made it out of this life-threatening situation.

Then this past year, at age 21, she was starting to have seizures again and her medication was not working as it used too. A few months later, she ended up in the ICU. Doctors again shared some not-so-hopeful news with her family. The family and close friends prayed for days, asking God for healing. Unfortunately, after three long weeks in the hospital, she passed away, surrounded by her parents, brothers, close family and friends.

At first thought, many of you, like I did, might wonder what the purpose of prayer was in all of this. Did God not love the family who lost their daughter or did he not answer their prayers?

This is where we need to start trusting – that God never witholds anything good. He, who is the Good Father, is trustworthy, and although we may not understand how in that moment, we are asked to trust. God does not make bad things happen, but he is in the business of making good and beautiful things come from any situation, no matter how sad or desperate that situation might be. The family of my friend did not stop praying, but rather they thanked God for always being faithful and present with their family, even in the difficult moments. “Pray always without becoming weary.” The answer might be “yes,” it might be “no,” it might be “I have something different in store,” but it is always answered. Trust that if we bring our sufferings, crosses, and daily challenges to the Lord, He always listens. If we spend some time praying in silence, He will also speak to us. I challenge all of you to pray in all moments, and to thank God no matter what the outcome, as He is the Good Father and “No good thing does He withhold” (Psalm 81:11

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