1. Genesis 18:20-21,23-32     2. Colosians 2: 6-14     Gospel: Luke 11: 1-13

                              " Do we always pray as Jesus taught us?"

It once happened for a businessman who needed millions of dollars to expand his business went to church to pray for getting that amount of money. By chance he knelt near to a man who was praying for $ 100 to pay an agent debt. From his wallet the businessman took out his wallet and pressed $100 into the other man's hand. Overjoyed, the man got up and left the church. The businessman then closed his eyes and prayed, " And now, Lord..... now that I have your undivided attention..."

Robert. A crook, the formal president of the king's college in New York once spoke at the institute called Moody Bible Institute, that the day before he had been at a gathering in Washington and had talked with then vice president George Bush. Moreover, two hours after he spoke briefly with President Ronald Reagan. Then smiling broadly, he said,  But that's nothing! Today I talked with God.

We learn a lesson from the example above of two men at prayer, a businessman, and a college president. They can teach us a lot about Christian prayer. Positively it shows us that even top-level executives and professionals still make time to pray. But in a very subtle way they also highlight the problem that today's gospel seems to focus upon, that of the right disposition for Christian prayer. Actually in both instances we see that God is portrayed as the big boss. Let us ask ourselves this simple question that, is that the best disposition for Christian prayer? what was the request of the disciples to Jesus? it was " Lord, teach us to pray" ( Luke 11:1) can be understood as a quest for the proper disposition for Christian prayer. The reply that Jesus gives them can be summarized in one sentence: the right disposition for Christian prayer is the disposition of a child before his father.

In our gospel reading today ( Luke 11:1-13) consists of the request of the disciples in v.1 and the long response of Jesus in vv.2 with the words, " When you pray, say: ' Father' " and ends in v.13 with the words, " If you then who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father." We see immediately that prayer, according to our Lord Jesus Christ, is the child father affair. In other words this implies a family affair based on a relationship of love and intimacy. Jesus uses the imagery of father here in order to correct the dominant image of God as the boss or the king who is to be feared rather than loved.  Thus speaking of God as father practically has an implication of speaking God as mother. Both images speak to us of a relationship based on love and intimacy and not on power and authority.

When we pray as Christians we simply put ourselves in the situation where we see God as father and speak to Him as His children. When children speak to their parents, there is hardly a right or wrong way. What children do in this context? they simply focus on one thing, that is to put into words and body language what they really feel in their hearts.

It is normal that children trust their parents to always do what is in the children's best interest. " Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for a fish, will give a snake instead of a fish? or if the child asks for an egg, will give a scorpion?" ( vv 11-12). God's children should likewise come to God with a spirit of trust and expectancy, knowing that God will always do for them whatever is in their best interest. Children like the friend at midnight, refuse to take no for an answer, say no to them and tomorrow they are sure to come back with the very same request. Jesus teaches us , as God's children, to show the same spirit of perseverance in prayer. He makes this point with the parable of the Friend at Midnight who refuses to take no for an answer.

When speaking of prayer as a father-child affair finally reminds us that prayer is an activity that flows out of a relationship. At all times we do not learn how to pray better, we become better women and men of prayer when our relationship with God becomes more intimate like that of father and child. If you want to improve your prayer, focus on improving your personal relationship with God, our Father.

In our today's gospel we need to understand that when we pray it is not a guarantee that God will instantly give us what we want from him. For example, what do I get from praying? Why do I continue praising God when sometimes He doesn't seem to hear and give what I ask for from Him?certainly God has got positive reasons even if our requests have negative answers. Let us bear in our minds that there is no such a thing as un answered prayers. All our prayers are being answered. In our today's gospel, Jesus says: " Ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you," ( v9). God never says lies and He is faithful to all His promises.

Moreover, we should also not forget that other side of prayer, that is our side.  God does not answer prayer in accordance, with our standard or what we want. This is simply because NO is already an answer to our prayers in the sense that God knows more than us. For instance when we pray for good health yet we keep on eating food which are rich in bad cholesterol. We eat too much. We pray for our country's economy to recover, but we steal money from the government treasury. How can our prayer be granted?

Let us bear in our minds that God is not at our disposal. We give Him freedom to answer ' yes' or ' ' no' or ' wait' For if we want to get  what we want every time we pray, we are not praying to God but to ourselves. We pray to Him because of our vested interests and personal needs. In prayer, we do not expect God to answer us in the way we want but in the way God wants because He knows what  is best for us.  Hence the saying : " Man proposes, God disposes."

Let us end our sharing with this little story.  It happened that there was a father who was diagnosed to have a terminal lung cancer. He was given two months to live. So the children prayed to God to give their dad some years to live. Sad to say, the father died before the two months ended. The children complained and were totally disappointed because for them God did not answer their prayers.

The mother told her children: God answered your prayer but in a different way. He didn't want your father to suffer long with terrible  pains, so He took him away much earlier than expected."


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Chapisha Maoni