1. Ex 17:8-13
2. 2Tim3:14-4:2
Gospel18: 1-8

                             "Does God respond to our petitions?"

A story of a pious prayerful religious is told whereby he prayed unceasingly to God. Even during the celebration of the mass he always said his rosary. At the moment of receiving the body of Christ( Holy communion) he walked in front with knees on the floor. He assured his neighbors that he wanted God alone to answer his prayer and whatever he prayed for.

It happened that a typhoon came across their village and thus flooded the entire village. It was reported that a tidal wave would come and sweep the entire village. A policeman came informing the villagers about the coming tidal wave and the typhoon, however the pious man did not pay heed to policeman, thus he did not want to leave a place since he believed that God alone could answer his prayers.

The flood became bigger and bigger, so a boat sailed  on the water informing again this person to vacate the place but he resisted believing that God alone was the one to answer his prayers. Moreover, when the water level was already on the roof, a helicopter came in order to provide the rescue, again the man did not pay attention to this final request in view to save his life. Finally he died and went into the gate of heaven.
Upon arriving into heaven, he became angry with St. Peter because God did not answer his prayers. St. Peter said: " We did answer all your prayers. We sent you a policeman, a boat and a helicopter, but you did not listen to all of them. It's not our fault."

In our gospel today we are invited to understand that the prayer is our important link to God. He desires nothing better than to hear from us, so God wants us to pray.

Let's ask ourselves this simple question that why does God wants us to pray? It's because prayer is simplest form of conversing with God. This means you are talking with God and God making His presence felt by you. In our daily lives we tend to undermine the importance the importance of prayer. Prayer is the source of spiritual power and strength.

There are many ways on how to pray the following are some of them:

First, you must decide that you want to pray, that is to be with God. You must not only do it when you feel like doing it. Prayer is a means to a higher goal which is to love God.

Second, you must decide the time and place you want to pray. For me personally I feel comfortable praying after I woke up in the morning and should be in my chapel for personal meditation before communal prayer. Thus try to secure the time and place best suited to your schedule.

Lastly, use the structure to begin with. Some would begin  their prayer with what we call ACTSS or Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication and Silence.
One SVD priest in his homily gave another form on how to pray after receiving the Holy Communion or during  the visit to the Blessed Sacrament. He is recommending  the A-L-T-A-R

A- Adore the Lord who is in your heart. Accept him with Joy.
L- Listen to the Lord who is in your heart. What is He telling you in the silence of your heart?
T-Thank to the Lord for His goodness and love, for his forgiveness and patience, even for your challenges and problems.
A-Ask the Lord for anything you need. Ask not only for yourself but for others too.
R- Rejoice in the Lord, whatever you are going through. Be glad, be hopeful because Jesus is in your heart and because He will be with you always.
Prayer is important because by ourselves we can nothing. We need God. Nothing is impossible with God. But will God find faith in us?

In praying we are invited to pray our part also. God asks us to do something about resolving certain problems. We must work for what we pray so that our prayer becomes more than a theoretical thought process. For instance if we want to end abortion practice, then we must somehow get involved in making this to happen.

In praying we need to have the most essential aspect in order to persevere in prayer, that is listening. It has been said that we Catholics are good at praying. I once attended a retreat and the director said we should make a retreat a " no prayer zone." At first I thought his idea was strange. He said, " we are good at praying but not very good at making ourselves available to God." Often we find ourselves challenged that God did not answer our prayers. Perhaps God is saying to us, " You did not listen." Can we hear the prayer of God going on within us?

The missing point in most prayer is the listening. It is the same reason for many of the difficulties in relationship between husbands and wives and parents and children. Do we really listen to one another? Do we listen to God? I believe that is the message of today's scripture. If you and I persevere in the listening aspect of prayer as much as in the talking aspect we will discover God's presence within us and the answer to our prayers.

It has been said and suggested that in these difficult and dangers times we pray for wisdom, listen with humility and respond in Faith. I think these three aspects of prayer are always good guidelines for us to follow.

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Chapisha Maoni