Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. Luke 11:9
with the prayer your Son taught us always on our lips,
we ask, we seek, we knock at your door:
help us so to seek that we may truly find,
so to ask that we may joyfully receive,
and so to knock that the door of mercy
may be opened for us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
- Amos 1:2-10
- Psalm 85
- Colossians 2:6-15
- Luke 1:1-13
- Hosea 1:1-11
- Psalm 107:1-9, 43
- Colossians 3:1-11
- Luke 12:13-21
A Thought to Ponder
Pentecost 7 – Luke 11:1-13
“When you pray, say, Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come …”
“If you 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?”
In today’s reading from Luke’s Gospel, the disciples ask Jesus to teach them how to pray. What is important to grasp is not the words of the prayer (Luke’s version of The Lord’s Prayer is shorter and more concise than Matthew’s version), but the attitude of prayer Jesus teaches. To pray is not to impose our will on God but to ask God to make us open to his will; in other words, we pray not to change God’s mind but for God to change ours.
Authentic prayer, as taught by Jesus and contained in the Lord’s Prayer, has three elements:
acknowledging the goodness and love of God: Jesus teaches us to call God “Father.” God is not the cosmic tyrant out of whom gifts have to be extracted through humiliating pleading; God is the loving eternal Parent who delights in providing for his children’s needs.
asking that we may do God’s will: Prayer worthy of God asks for the grace to do the work he calls us to do (forgiveness, reconciliation, justice), to become the people he calls us to become (brothers and sisters under our heavenly Father).
voicing our hope in the providence of God: We come before God knowing that, just as parents will provide for their children a good friend will aid another friend, God will hear our prayers and provide us with what we need. Even if it seems as if our prayers are unanswered, we live with the confident faith that God hears and responds in ways that assure us of his presence in our lives.
We often approach prayer as if we are trying to wring gifts from an unwilling God; in fact, we come before a God who knows our needs better than we do ourselves.
Authentic prayer is not a formula or ritual but an awareness of God’s presence in our lives, of God’s hand as sustainer and nurturer of creation, of God’s love giving breath to every moment of our existence. Prayer is to realise the connection between the compassion of God and the love we experience in our lives, between God’s forgiveness and the forgiveness we extend, between the holy creativity of God and the work we do for our daily bread.
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