Welcome to the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Clifton.

 

Sunday 20th October 2019
Twenty-Ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Exodus 17: 8-13     2 Timothy 3:14 - 4:2     Luke 18: 1-8

The Dripping Tap.

Prayer is one of the great Christian mysteries. On one level it is a very simple thing. God promises to provide us with all we need for true happiness. On another level it seems complicated – we often pray for things, yet God seems to delay. In a very real sense, to pray is to go round in circles. The more we pray according to the mind of Jesus, the more we become aware of the will of God. And as we become aware of this, our prayer changes us. We no longer expect a list of demands to be agreed to by God. Instead we begin to realise that God is far greater than we can ever imagine, and God’s plan for the world is more global than our particular concerns. In fact, there are things we should be praying about that we are wholly unaware of. And the most perfect prayer is that which asks that God’s will be done.

We can think of perseverance in prayer rather like the dripping tap which eventually wears away even the hardest of stone. But the difference is that if we persevere in prayer it is not God that we wear away. We don’t get God to change his mind by a continual barrage of words. Prayer actually has the opposite effect. It wears us smooth so that we become more aware of God’s will. And then we come full circle because we end up recognising that no matter what worries, tragedies or evils may besiege us, God will never leave us orphans.

When this happens we find ourselves trusting in God’s loving care, in his holy will. So then we tend not to bring requests to God, getting annoyed if they are not immediately granted. Rather, we come before God and we lift up our cares and concerns, for ourselves and our world, presenting them to God, that his will be done in all these situations. If this understanding of the will of God is missing from our prayers, then we will probably give up before long. But we will know that our prayer is about to be answered when we can pray, “Your will, not mine, be done”.

 

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Scripture Reflections (below) © Peter J Harrison 2019

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