So often, we are very impatient. We are told that we can expect anything and everything that we want nearly immediately. The media tells us this through advertising. We can purchase nearly anything on the Internet and much of what we do buy online is delivered immediately. We turn a light switch on and the light goes on. Immediate gratification! We've come to expect this and even feel that we have a right to it.
God, however, does not necessarily work in this fashion. He sometimes delivers immediate answers to our prayers, but not frequently. If we are in a relationship with God, we have to learn patience. God moves according to His own time and design.
This apparent slow movement on the part of God is yet another loving manifestation of His love for us. We need to learn to be patient. While technology may move us along at light speed, our spiritual development cannot. We must learn to contemplate our relationship with God. We must learn to spend quiet time in the presence of the Almighty. We must learn that we oftentimes have to be persistent in our prayers.
Jesus points this out very clearly in today's Gospel reading taken from the Gospel of St. Luke. Jesus tells us the parable of the persistent friend who goes to his neighbor in the middle of the night to borrow some bread in order to feed a friend who has just arrived. The neighbor in need doesn't give up in his request. He keeps asking until, worn down by his neighbor's requests, he gives in, gets up, and delivers the loaves of bread.
The message of this gospel story is not that if we hound God unceasingly He will finally give in having grown tired of our repeated petitions. Rather, the message of the Gospel is consistency in our prayer lives.
God wants us to come to Him regularly. He desires to hear from us on all sorts of occasions. He wants us to come in moments of need, to be sure. But He also desires our company in good times and bad. He wishes to hear from us in times of tribulation and peace. He wishes for us to "drop" in on Him if only for a very few short moments throughout the day to share with Him the events of the day.
Our prayers are important to God not because He has a need to know what is going on with us. Rather, our prayers are important to Him because they are manifestations of our love and dependence upon Him. We have been created by God for God. Jesus tells us to trust in His Father in the same reading by saying simply, "ask and you shall 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."
We can be very sure that God will answer our prayers. But, He will answer them in His own good time. While we await His answer, we must persist in addressing Him in prayer. We must always remain close to Him because nothing that comes our way that is good comes from Him through His Son Jesus Christ.
Likewise, we must be persistent with one another. We must continually pray for each other. We must always look to see if there isn't something we can to to help the other person, either spiritually or physically. We must never neglect the needs of others for our Father never neglects our needs. He is always diligent and ready to respond to our needs. Through our persistence in prayer, we will come to know Him and ourselves in ways that before were unknown to us.
And the sweetest prayer the Father can receive is the prayer that our Lord taught His disciples in the beginning of this reading. The Lord's Prayer is a prayer of persistence and petition. Over and over again we ask the Father to deliver us from the snares of the devil as well as providing us with our daily needs both spiritually and physically. Pray it often for the words come from His beloved Son while the sentiment and sincerity is ours!