AFTER THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES Jesus journeyed through Judea, preaching and healing the sick. One day, when He had finished praying, one of the disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, as John had taught his disciples. Jesus repeated the prayer He had taught them in His sermon on the mount in Galilee:
“When you pray, say: ‘Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.’ “
Then He spoke to them of the need for persevering and confident prayer:
“Which of you shall have a friend and shall go to him in the middle of the night and say to him, “Friend, lend me three loaves, for a friend of mine has just come to me from a journey, and I have nothing to set before him’; and he from within should answer and say, ‘Do not disturb me; the door is now shut, and my children and I are in bed; I cannot get up and give to thee.’ I say to you, although he will not get up and give to him because he is his friend, yet because of his persistence he will get up and give him all he needs.”
“And I say to you, ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened.”
Our Father in heaven will give us all that we need, even the supreme gift of the Holy Spirit, if we pray earnestly and persistently and with the confidence of a child in the wisdom of his father.
“But if one of you asks his father for a loaf, will he hand him a stone? or for a fish, will he for a fish hand him a serpent? or if he asks for an egg, will he hand him a scorpion? Therefore, if you, evil as you are, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Good Spirit to those who ask Him!”
Meditation: To anyone who seriously tries to serve God, prayer is essential, but also full of problems. Fortunately, Christ Himself has given us this simple and clear instruction on how to pray. First He gave us a perfect model of prayer (the Our Father). Then, in two short parables, He tells us that our prayer must be persevering and confident. Christ’s simple prescription should be the guide for my prayer.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959. 143-144. © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Drawing by Albert H Winkler.