Lk 18:1-8
Then Jesus told them a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, “In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Grant me justice against my opponent.’
For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, ‘Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.’”
And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
Patterns and persistence in prayer
Like the persistent widow in today’s parable, St. Ignatius teaches us to identify and petition God for the graces we desire. Through a repeated cycle of asking, reflecting on what we are asking for, and our asking once again, we come to discover themes and patterns embedded in our all of our askings.
Many days I fail to express my hearts desires. Why? Perhaps because I sense that God already knows, so why bother, or that my penchant for self-deception makes me question their appropriateness, or that God is only interested in my pieties not my petitions. Other times it’s out of fear: God is too uninvolved to care, or that my deepest heart-longings won’t be satisfied, or conversely, that they will be, resulting in a radical life change.
What might the patterns in your prayer be telling you about God, others, and yourself? What prevents you from asking the Giver of all good gifts to satisfy your deepest desires?
—Christopher Alt, SJ, is a member of the Midwest Jesuits. He writes for The Jesuit Post and is currently pursuing a Master of Social Work at Loyola University Chicago.
Giver of all good gifts, shine your light in my prayer. Help me to see my deepest desires and, by your Spirit, give me persistence to overcome obstacles that prevent me from seeking your Reign. If I feel stuck, give me the grace to trust in grace. Amen.
—Christopher Alt, SJ