Insist, persist, persevere in prayer

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

WE cannot deny that there are times when we can find ourselves in some emergency situation. We feel helpless, grasping at straws. And we find ourselves having no other alternative than to run to the nearest fellow who can lend us some help, going to the extent of pestering and disturbing him.

This kind of situation was dramatized in that story Christ told his disciples about a fellow whose friend arrived in the middle of the night needing to be fed. Obviously, the fellow had to run to another friend to ask for some bread. (cfr. Lk 11,5-13)

At first, this friend-storeowner refused to give what was requested because it was already late in the night and his children were already asleep. But because of the persistent appeals of the fellow in need, this friend finally acceded and gave what was requested.

The lesson Christ wanted to impart to his disciples—and now to us—is that we should just insist, persist and persevere in asking God for whatever we need, especially in some extraordinary moments when we would find ourselves in some helpless situation.

“I tell you,” he said, “ask and you will 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 the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”

And to underscore this reassurance, he further said, “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish? Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg? If you then, 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 other words, we should never hesitate to ask God for any help we need, especially in times of emergency. Even if our appeals appear to be unanswered, we should just go on asking him, never feeling that we would be disturbing him.

God always listens and cares for us. Our usual problem is that we tend to lose our faith in him or at least to doubt his compassion when we feel our requests appear to be rebuked.

One way to counter this danger is to pray the Rosary. This Marian prayer, which many people consider as boring since they consider it as just a repetition of Our Father’s, Hail Mary’s and Glory be’s, is actually an effective prayer that teaches us how to insist and persevere in our petitions to God.

And we do it with Mary, the mother of God and our mother, who is the most powerful intercessor we can have. We know that, as dramatized in that wedding at Cana, when it is Mary who would make the request on our behalf, Christ would find it difficult to refuse.

The repetition of Hail Mary’s in the Holy Rosary actually corrects our tendency to be short of faith in God’s loving providence and leads us to develop a heart burning with desire and belief in God.

We need to make people realize the beauty and power of this Marian prayer that has been recommended by no less than Mary herself in some of her apparitions. We should also show how this prayer can be said even in our days when we have to contend with many challenges and trials.

Let’s remember that to be strong and firm in our faith and piety or to be weak, cold or lukewarm in them is a choice we make.