Our gospel today (Lk 11) recounts Jesus giving his disciples two valuable lessons for their spiritual life.  The first is this beautiful prayer, “Our Father,” which is shorter than the version of St. Matthew’s gospel.  And the second is the attitude or disposition that should accompany prayer (v. 8).

Catholics grow up with the Lord’s prayer on their lips. You absorb this prayer from the crib, at every Mass, religion class, and lessons from your elders. If you later on develop the habit of praying, you recite this prayer at least once a day. Indeed for many people, the Lord’s prayer is the favorite and most important prayer.

When the late Francisco Ferro was on his sick bed, he asked his family to write in big letters the words of the Lord’s Prayer in Tagalog on manila paper. He instructed them to post the prayer on the wall of his room where he could recite the prayer he learned from his mother everytime he was in pain.

But the Lord also taught us the proper attitude to go with the words of prayer, whether this one or any other. And this is the attitude of persistence. He wanted his disciples to pray continuously, without getting weary, without giving up.

Why is persistence in prayer important? God knows what we need. Indeed he can see through our heart of hearts. But to keep on praying develops within us trust in the Father, hope in his goodness, and reliance on his grace and protection.

Not all prayer is answered at once. Not all prayer is granted in the way we expect. The Lord Jesus wants us to continue believing even if we cannot see the results yet. Persistence teaches us to believe that help is on the way. Persistence allows our hearts to get prepared for the blessings that will soon come in abundance.

Let us always pray to our dear Father in heaven, with the trust of a child, the persistence of the needy, and the confidence of one who knows the blessing is soon to come.