Do you ever feel like you are bothering God when you pray? Do you ever feel like your prayer may be so small and insignificant compared to the “big things” that plague other people? Do you ever feel like you don’t need to pray because you aren’t really “needing” anything? I know I slip into this mindset from time to time especially when I am praying with others about cancer, unemployment, and fears that haunt their consciousness but nothing “big” is going on in my life. Does that mean I shouldn’t pray? Absolutely not. There is always something to pray for or about. There is always something to tell God about even if it isn’t an “ask.” Does that make my prayer insignificant in comparison to the “big things” others are praying for or about? NO! My prayer is my prayer. It is what is on my head and on my heart. My prayer is just as important to God because God loves me and wants to hear from me. He wants to hear what weighs on my heart and plagues my consciousness just as much as He wants to hear yours. He wants to hear it anytime and it brings Him great joy when it occurs.
Today’s gospel reminds us about the persistence of prayer. As I read it, I imagine the widow to be like the no-see-ums that swarm about me on warm summer nights outside. The judge views the widow as a pest like the no-see-ums. The judge wishes her to go away. He cannot ignore her but he wants to. I imagine the judge throwing up his hands and saying, “Fine! Here is my decision, now leave me alone!” He finally dealt the death swat to the pesky no-see-um. This is not how God works, not at all. God wants us to be like the no-see-ums and continue to pursue Him in prayer. He will never throw His arms up in frustration and say, “Fine! Here you go!” Instead, God listens and responds as a loving father would respond. He will not provide all that we ask for in prayer. He will, however, always respond to our prayer with what is in our best interest.
When I catch myself focusing more on what I want, I add a little phrase to my prayer. It goes like this, “but of course Lord, only if it is your will.” Rather than looking for the answer that I want, I look for answers He provides. Look and listen with eyes of faith for He always answers our prayer. The more we ask, especially asking for His will to be done, the more our hearts soften to seeing how God responds. “Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.”