Prayer and loyalty.
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.
Welcome, thank you for joining us this Sunday as we testify to and act on our faith in our Lord and Savior.
If we listen carefully to the liturgical Propers for today, we will hear these words in reference to prayer: loyal, ever, constant, always, persist, patience, at every opportunity, watch, persevere, never cease, steadfast, call. All these words are action words, none are passive.
These words apply to the woman seeking a just judgment in today’s gospel. She was an engaged individual; she would not let the wicked judge off-the-hook even though she knew he was wicked.
The woman seeking a just judgment had something the wicked judge did not have. While not plainly said, she was a woman of faith who combined her faith and respect for God and others with action.
Jesus really wants us to focus on action, and the primary action we will study this and next week is the action of prayer.
There are five key components to prayer – to making prayer real and effective. It is these actions:
Offer up our desires to God. We are called to pour ourselves out to Him. This seems like the easiest part. We are good at doing this.
Surrender to God. Just as Jesus taught us in the Our Father and in the Garden: God’s will be done, and His will is to be ours. This is harder.
Enter Conversation with God – it means we not only talk, but we also listen. We seek God and attend to His presence and desire for us.
Practice the presence of God. I want to be in God’s presence, never apart from Him. This is about the time and effort we make to seek God’s face, not compartmentalizing Him, but having Him ever before us, permeating our lives.
Own the peace of God. It is in prayer that ultimately, despite all things and in all things, we find peace.
It is key, we churchgoers, that we pay close attention to this, for prayer is our heritage. We come here to do as Jesus asks, joining in fellowship to offer, surrender, converse, practice, and own. Do we do it perfectly? Could our lives be more fully in God’s presence? Could we be more active? Of course! And we should get at it. But we have the start and the commitment, and in the end we will be heard. We are like the woman seeking a just judgment – and you know what? – God will give it to us.
Now I must be very honest with you. Some come to me who would never think to darken the doorway of a church. An emergency, disappointment, a tragedy – please pray for me. This isn’t people trying, but those who won’t until… I do pray in hope that they will be convicted and converted. Almost none are. I often wonder why. Thus, Jesus’ warns: “when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” May He find each of us loyal, active, and wholly His in prayer.