The Gospel reading of this 29th Sunday in Ordinary times, year C, (Luke 18:1-8), puts a key emphasis on the necessity of perseverance in prayer. In this reading, a widow was able to win justice from a king who neither feared God nor man by her share persistence. We know that success in life demands persistent effort because no matter what we are engaged with, challenges are bound to show up. The same is true with prayer. Heavenly blessings may not always come without interruptions. Scripture says that “We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. So, persistent prayer is the only way out in the face of life adversities and tribulations.
In chapter ten of the book of Daniel, we read about how Daniel prayed and fasted for 21 days, with no answer from the heavens. But, on that 21st days, an angel of the Lord appear to him to tell him that from the first day he began to pray, God heard his prayers and sent him (the angel) to bring the graces he was seeking. He then told him that the prince of the kingdom of Persia (an euphemism for the evil one) fought him for twenty-one days until Archangel Michael came to help him out and liberated him from the evil forces. You see, Daniel’s prayer was heard from the very beginning, but evil forces fought divine help from getting to him. It was Daniel’s persistent prayer that got the angelic armies to break through the evil forces. My friends, make no mistake about this, we live in a sin-stricken world where the devil is very active and will battle God’s graces from getting to us. But once we breakthrough the dark spirit realm, through persistent prayer, divine answers will immediately manifest into our lives. Persistent prayer breaks the resistance of evil forces undermining our divine favors.
Persistent prayer, also, shows commitment to what we are praying for and our unwavering trust in the faithfulness of God. It is a true sign of our belief that God is able to construct blessings into our lives. It is a way of honoring God by telling Him that we will continue to seek our fulfillment and completion in His promises. You see, when we take prayers to God, we are tell Him that we trust Him to handle the situation. However, if the answer to our initial prayer is delayed and we give up, then, we are telling God that He has failed and that we would rather handle the situation ourselves. This is pride and arrogance. But if we continue to trust Him with persistent prayer, then, we are declaring our total dependence upon Him, thereby honoring Him. Persistent prayer grants us intimacy with God whereby He can trust us with answers to our prayers.
So, on a larger scale, it takes a praying Church to be a growing Church. Unfortunately, many of our parishioners stay away from our Eucharistic adorations and devotions every first Friday and first Sundays of the month; from our Marian devotion with Eucharistic exposition every Wednesday, after our Charismatic Prayer Meeting; from our online Marian Devotions every Monday and Friday. Prayer is more than an obligation. It is an opportunity. A Church that does not pray is a Church that is sure to perish. Let us be a praying Church.