In Genesis 18:20-32, there was an outcry of prayer against the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah. God heard the prayers and decided to wipe out the cities. Abraham, in his own prayerful way, asked God … “will you sweep away the innocent with the guilty?” Then Abraham proposed some scenarios to God starting with … “Suppose there were fifty innocent people in the city; would you wipe out the place, rather than spare it for the sake of the fifty innocent people within it? Far be it from you to do such a thing, to make the innocent die with the guilty so that the innocent and the guilty would be treated alike! Should not the judge of all the world act with justice?”
I think that was pretty bold of Abraham to speak to God that way. What is amazing to me is that God answered him calmly saying … “If I find fifty innocent people in the city of Sodom, I will spare the whole place for their sake.” Abraham goes on for quite a while in his conversation to get all the way down to what if there were only 10 innocent people? God answered … “For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.” When I read about prayer like this, I tend to see one bothering God. I cringe thinking that Almighty God might get even madder at the stupidity of my questions and promptings. God being mad, ha ha, human thinking on my part. But this reading has taught me something about prayer and the purpose of being honest with God.
Psalm 138 today says … “I will give thanks to you, O LORD, with all my heart, for you have heard the words of my mouth.” God listens to prayer. Then in the Gospel of Luke 11:1-13, it starts with Jesus praying to His Father, the disciples asking Jesus to teach them how to pray so Jesus teaches the Our Father Prayer and then Jesus teaches them in a parable about further prayer. I love this parable. I paraphrase, at midnight a friend comes to a friend’s house and knocks on the door needing 3 loaves of bread for an unexpected guest. The friend in the house tells him to go away because he is already in bed. Now the kicker for me, the wisdom of Jesus says … “I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence.”
What I have received from these readings is to go ahead and persistently bother the Lord with what is on my mind. I think He likes it, kind of like we do as parents when our children come to us with their problems or whatever is on their minds. The Gospel teaching on prayer continues with “For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” I pray much and think I have a great relationship with God but I again realize that I too often try to say things in a way that God will like rather than just trusting that if I say what I mean with complete trust in God, my intimacy with him should grow. I also received some wisdom from our pastor in his homily; if God answers my prayer immediately, He is increasing my faith. If God delays His answer for a little while, He is increasing my patience. If God does not answer my prayer, He is telling me that He has something better for me which would definitely be His will over mine and that is perfect for me. Trust in the Lord with all my heart. Your will be done, not mine. Amen.