Readings : Jonah 4:1-11, Luke 11: 1-4
When we think of prayer, what is the first thing that comes to our mind? What happens when we don’t get anything in prayer? Have we ever asked in any situation whether God really listen to my prayer?
There was the tragedy that happened several years back at Thredbo in the Australian Alps when there was a terrific landslide that came down on the skiers huts burying 19 people. The whole country held its breath. A chapel was set up on the edge of the Thredbo River and people prayed. People at home and in churches prayed for the rescue of those people. At the end, one man was rescued. It seemed like a miracle. The survivor acknowledged that God must have had a hand in deliverance. But what about the other 18 people who lost their lives? What about all the prayers that were said for those people and yet they still perished? What would be my understanding towards God in this situation? It’s no wonder that we are skeptical about the use of prayer. Moreover, when we together pray for a particular intention, we expect a miracle. As Jonah expected something to happen to the people of Nineveh as he wants in the first reading.
In the gospel reading, the prayer which Jesus taught today is not a prayer which deals about theology or miracles rather it teaches how a person should lead one’s life everyday. We need to think thrice before we could recite this prayer. That is to know whether I am following the words which I say. Let us be clear about what prayer is. Prayer is not having special skills and saying the right words so that we can reach God’s ear. Mt 6:7-8 says “In praying, don’t use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do….” It must be from the heart. That’s what Jesus teaches to his disciples. When a small child who wants to say something really important. What does dad do? He bends down, lovingly puts his arm around the child and lets the child whisper in his ear. In this sense the prayer is not so much us reaching up to God with special words or techniques but it is God reaching down to us.
Does my prayer make God to bend down?
Do I really forgive others?
How do I live this prayer “Our Father” in my life?