Praying without ceasing

By Fr. Roy Cimagala

“Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened.” (Mt 7,7-8)

The words of Christ are very clear. We are asked to persevere in prayer since no matter how things look bad and hopeless, God always will love us and will take care of us. “If you then being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more will your Father who is in heaven, give good things to them that ask him?” (Mt 7,11)

We should never doubt the effectiveness of our sincere prayer even if initially it may appear as if we have been ignored if not rebuffed. God would never fail to take care of us—but of course in his own way, which is actually what is best for us. His way may not be what we want, but definitely it would be what is best for us!

How important therefore it is to be persistent and persevering in our prayer, for which a strong faith is needed. We have to remind ourselves of these reassuring words of St. Paul that tell us that no matter how things develop, we can be sure of God’s will to put things in their proper end. “God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.” (Phil 1,6)

The Pauline words somehow tell us that the secret of perseverance is our strong faith in God, in his omnipotent and merciful providence that can always make do with whatever situation we may find ourselves in any given moment.

We have to see to it that we keep that faith alive and burning. And to make that faith vibrant, we need to keep ourselves always in love. It’s love that keeps our faith going. It should be a love that goes beyond good intentions, sweet words and nice feelings. It has to be expressed in deeds.

One clear manifestation of an operative love that nourishes our faith that in turn enables us to persevere and to be faithful to the end is the practice of a daily examination of conscience.

The examination of conscience is a very helpful tool in our effort to be faithful and persevering in our earthly pilgrimage toward our eternal goal. There we make a proper closure to our day as we enter our daily rest at night.

The examination of conscience is a wonderful moment of ending everything with God everyday. After all, God is everything to us, and we should realize that we need to be with him at the end of the day, no matter how we were during the day.

It’s a practice that we have to deliberately cultivate, since it is often not felt and perceived by the senses, or by the body in general, but rather by the spirit, by our mind and heart enlightened by faith. It’s a practice that is often ignored and even rejected by many worldly concerns, trends, fashions, ideologies and political systems.

If we keep this practice of examining our conscience regularly and properly, we can manage to keep our faith and love for God going irrespective of how things go in our life.