Read: Exodus 17:8-13, Ps. 121, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2, Luke 18:1-8

“Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” (Luke 18:8)

To the leper who returned to give thanks in last Sunday’s Gospel passage, Jesus said: “Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well.” (Luke 17:19). Today, we hear Jesus ask “when the Son of man comes, will he find faith on earth?” If that leper’s faith could make him whole, the question is: “How many people today still have that kind of faith?” or better put, “how many of us believe in the power of prayers?”

The easiest test to know if you believe in prayer is whether or not you pray, how much time you spend praying every day, and how light or heavy you feel after praying. The truth is that for many Christians today, prayer is just a waste of time, the last resort to turn when we think all else has failed, something we do when we think what we want is impossible. We have no problem praying but we hardly expect the things we are praying for to happen; we keep expecting the worst and we give up too easily on prayer. Let us consider the lessons contained in today’s readings: 

1. A prayer-less Christian is a powerless Christian.

A Christian who does not pray is like a person who does not eat or drink water. Such a person cannot fight a heavyweight boxing champion. In a similar vein, a Christian who does not pray cannot challenge the devil and his agents in the daily battles of life. Just as Moses stood in prayer in battle against the Amalekites, we children of God today must never drop our hands when it comes to prayer.

The story of the Israelite defeat over the Amalekites which we hear in our first reading has been told for thousands of years to prove to us that prayer is not something we should ever toil with. Like the air we breathe, prayer is essential to life. Whenever Moses dropped his hands, the Israelites suffered defeat. That is to say, the minute we stop praying, we begin to suffer various forms of defeat. Prayer is life. 

2. Jesus started with Prayer and ended with Prayer.

When we look at the life of Jesus Christ, we cannot but see the truth in the saying that prayer is life. From very early in the morning, Jesus would go to a very quiet place all by himself to pray. Before every miracle he worked, he prayed. At the end of each day’s activity, he would again withdraw to a quiet place and at times, spend the whole night alone praying. At every stage of his teaching, he was found praying to the extent that his disciples had to ask him to teach them how to pray and he taught them the “Our Father.” (Matthew 6:9-13). Prayer is life.

3. Prayer demands Perseverance.

Last Sunday, in the healing miracle of the ten lepers, Jesus taught us to add thanksgiving whenever we pray. Today, Jesus stresses the importance of perseverance in prayer. The story of the woman demanding justice from the unjust judge goes to show that persistence can and will always work in our favor. It is not as if God is unjust or that he deliberately decides to withhold good things we ask for, No! Jesus is saying that God can change his mind for your sake. Prayer is life. 

4. Prayer is a relationship. 

The real reward of prayer is that it lifts our minds out of this world. The time we spend in prayer is like the time we spend in heaven. Each time we pray, we take a trip away from our worries and problems, we take a trip to the presence of God and his angels, we take a trip to a world where all things are possible and we become more relaxed, more energized, and more hopeful.

Develop a love for prayer. Prayer is not something anyone should force you to do. No one forces you to drink water, you look for water once you are thirsty. In the same way, each time you feel worried, each time you are troubled in spirit, your soul is thirsting for prayer. The less you pray, the more confused and troubled you are. Our responsorial psalm today says: “our help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” This means, without God’s help, we are helpless creatures struggling to survive in a harsh world. Prayer is life. 

5. Pray with the Word of God.

When you pray, engage your mind, your heart, and your entire being. Pray as if everything depends on prayer and you will be truly praying. Finally, when we talk about prayer, it must be borne in mind that reading the Bible is part of prayer. This is why St. Paul is encouraging us in our first reading today not to joke with the Bible or begin to argue about the Bible. He says: “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable … that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (2nd Timothy 3:16). Prayer is life.

If today, you hear these words, harden not your hearts. Prayer is life.

Let us pray: Heavenly Father, teach me to love prayer more than food, so that I may never neglect to pray. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (29th Sunday in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Exodus 17:8-13, Ps. 121, 2 Timothy 3:14-4:2, Luke 18:1-8)

© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu