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.
One must admire the persistence of the widow before an unjust judge. She wears him out and obtains a favorable ruling. Is Jesus suggesting that if we persist in our prayers we will eventually succeed in changing God’s mind? I suspect rather that our repeated prayers change our own hearts; they ally our hearts more closely with the heart of God.
Surely Jesus wants us to pray constantly and not lose heart. And we may find that what we ask for changes gradually and evolves into a prayer to think like Jesus, to know and do the will of the Father. As Jesus himself prayed in Gethsemane: “Lord, not my will, but yours be done!”
—Fr. Don Petkash, S.J. serves as Vice-President for Mission and Identity at Walsh Jesuit High School, Stow, OH.
Lord, you know my many wants and needs; I constantly place them before you. Help me to reach deep within myself to acknowledge what I most desire: to know and do your will.