Jesus said to his disciples:
“Suppose one of you has a friend
to whom he goes at midnight and says,
“Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey
and I have nothing to offer him,”
and he says in reply from within,
“Do not bother me; the door has already been locked
and my children and I are already in bed.
I cannot get up to give you anything.”
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves
because of their friendship,
he will get up to give him whatever he needs
because of his persistence.
“And I tell you, ask and you will receive;
seek and you will find;
knock and the door will be opened to you.
For everyone who asks, receives;
and the one who seeks, finds;
and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
What father among you would hand his son a snake
when he asks for a fish?
Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?
If you then, who are wicked,
know how to give good gifts to your children,
how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit
to those who ask him?”
While I was in Rome we encountered many homeless people who were asking for money. Some of them were persistent to the point of following us down the street for several blocks. On one occasion I gave them some money just for their persistence.
Jesus encourages us to be persistent with our prayer to the Father. He tells us to ask, to seek, to knock. Don’t be afraid to be specific and persistent with your prayer. However, there is one important phrase that I would recommend adding to every prayer – “thy will be done”. In the Our Father, Jesus prayed “Thy will be done.” When the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her she would conceive by the Holy Spirit, Mary responded by saying, “Be it done unto me according to your word”, even though she didn’t completely understand what was happening.
Both Jesus and Mary have shown us the way to surrender everything to the Father’s will. Like them, we don’t always understand what is happening nor why it is happening. But we are asked to trust the Father. And Jesus tells us that our earthly father knows how to give good gifts. My Dad would never give me anything that would intentionally harm me. How much more will my heavenly Father give me every good gift that I need, especially the Holy Spirit?
We may not always get what we want, but the Lord gives us what we need. I often feel like a little boy in the spiritual life. I try to do things my own way. I want my will to be done. And God lets me try to do it on my own, like most dads. And then when I fail, He holds out His guiding hand and says, “Come with me. I will show you how to do it. I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
Am I persistent in prayer?
Do I ask, seek and knock?
Do I surrender everything to the will of God, even when I don’t understand what is happening?
Lord, take me by the hand as you took Peter’s hand when he was drowning in the sea. Help me to trust in you completely. Help me to know that you will never lead me astray nor harm me. Help me to want what you want when you want it.