Is God really listening?
In the parable of the Unjust Judge which we hear in this Sunday’s Gospel, the judge is willing to do what is right simply to get rid of a persistent petitioner who would not go away. If a judge of a questionable character can do this, how much more will a loving Father in heaven do what is right? But there will be times when it will not feel like this.
For us Christians, persistence is a virtue that we must cultivate, for often we are called to be faithful and to persevere even when we cannot see our efforts bearing fruit. We might pray ten times a day asking God for one thing and yet God does not seem to be listening. At times we are tempted to give up on prayer, and we may begin to think that it is a waste of time. After all, didn’t Jesus Himself tell us that when we ask we shall receive (Matthew 7:7)? But do you know what? When God does not give us what we pray for here and now, it is precisely because He is a loving Father, a father who will only give us what is good for us. A human father would never give his child a gun or a cigarette if he asked for one. Neither would he buy his child a car until he is old enough and has passed his driving test.
God says no to your prayers when what you ask is not good for you. He says no when he has something even better planned for you. He will say yes to all good things that you ask for, but even then you may have to wait for the right time to receive them. God knows what we need even before we ask Him … and when we need them.
Let us also remember that we pray not just to ask God for the things we need, but also to praise Him and to thank Him. “Pray constantly,” St Paul writes, “and for all things give thanks to God, because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus” (1 Thessalonians 5:17-18).