Jesus wants us to pray. Jesus want us to pray always. And Jesus wants us to pray and not to lose heart.
That is what this parable is all about. These three things are pillars of prayer life.
First, Jesus wants us to pray because God answers our prayer. Without this faith, our prayers become meaningless. Jesus himself believed that. He prayed whenever he had to make big decisions such as calling disciples and accepting his death in Gethsemane.
If we have faith that God answers our prayers, then we can pray to God. Jonah prayed to God. Elijah prayed to God. Jeremiah prayed to God. Moses prayed to God. Job prayed to God. Paul prayed to God. They all prayed to God because they believed that God would answer their prayers.
This is what Jesus said.
Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Mark 11:24)
This is what Jeremiah said.
Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known. (Jeremiah 33:3)
Jesus had confidence in prayer. Jeremiah believed that there is mysterious power hidden in prayer.
Prayer is something you have to experience. Without experiencing that your prayers are answered, you can never know what prayer does to your life. You can never learn to enjoy prayer. We cannot understand the reality of prayer with our brain. You have to experience it. You have to experience how God answers your prayer. Then you will see the power of prayer.
That is the very first step of entering into the life of faith. God does not answer always in obvious ways. But as I look back, God answered my prayers and used my prayers to guide me and lead me.
I used to write prayers. When I go back to my prayers, I can see how God has used my prayers to guide me. At that time, it didn’t even look like answers. I didn’t even know that my prayers were answered at that time. But gave me the best answer in his own way. That is the first pillar.
Second, Jesus tells us to pray always. That was what St. Paul said too.
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
He told us to pray without ceasing. Praying always means to make it as your lifestyle. In that sense, prayer is not your random activities. Prayer is a lifestyle. It is not that there is a time when you pray. It is rather that there is not a time when you don’t pray.
Don’t pray habitually but make prayer as a habit of your life. Live a prayerful life. Approach all your problems with a prayerful attitude. You do that not only because you believe that God answers your prayer but also because you believe that you do not have all the answers. Do you know how helpful it is to know that you don’t have to have all the answers in life? It gives you tremendous peace and calmness.
We have this obsession that we have to take care of every problem. That stresses us out. But when you truly believe that you don’t have to have all the answers, it gives you peace and calmness. That is what prayer does. Instead of worrying about things that you cannot solve, you know how to leave your life in God’s good hands. You take a prayerful attitude to everything that you encounter.
Prayerful life is a life of peace and calm. Joy, prayer, and thanksgiving go together. When you live a prayerful life, your life will be filled with joy and thankfulness. What more do you ask for in life?
Do Not Lose Heart
Third, Jesus said to pray and do not lose heart. If you start living a prayerful life, you will experience many disappointments. People who don’t live a prayerful life, don’t know that. But when you pray, you get disappointed and disillusioned. You feel like giving up. You feel angry even with God. You feel that God is like the bad judge.
You get disappointed because you don’t see God’s movement in your life. Because you don’t see any change. This is what Gideon said.
But sir, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our ancestors recounted to us, saying, “Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?” But now the Lord has cast us off, and given us into the hand of Midian. (Judges 6:13)
He was disappointed because he didn’t get answers from God.
St. Paul also prayed three times that his thorn may be removed but God didn’t give him what he wanted.
We do not always get what we want. That’s why we get disappointed and frustrated. We feel like giving up. All of us will have a moment of losing our heart.
So, to live a prayerful life, we have to know how to deal with our own disappointment. We have to learn not to lose our heart.
This is where faith comes in. It is not faith that God answers our prayer. It is not faith that we don’t have to have all the answers. It is faith to totally surrender to God. Like the faith Jesus had in Gethsemane.
This is what the prophet Habakkuk said.
Though the fig tree does not blossom,
and no fruit is on the vines;
though the produce of the olive fails
and the fields yield no food;
though the flock is cut off from the fold
and there is no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord;
I will exult in the God of my salvation. (Habakkuk 3:17, 18)
You pray not just because you see the result. You pray even if you don’t see the result. You trust in God’s goodness. And we will never give up. We will never lose our heart.
Prayer is eschatological. Prayer sees the end. We believe that the end is in God’s hands. In the end, God will answer our prayers.
Pray. Pray always. Pray and do not lose heart.