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The Everyday Prayer

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Icon of the Holy Face
Church of Sant'Egidio, Rome

Memorial of the patriarch Abraham. In faith he journeyed to a land that he did not know, but that was promised to him by God. Because of this faith, he is called the father of believers by Jews, Christians and Muslims

Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I am the good shepherd,
my sheep listen to my voice,
and they become
one flock and one fold.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Luke 11, 5-13

He also said to them, 'Suppose one of you has a friend and goes to him in the middle of the night to say, "My friend, lend me three loaves,

because a friend of mine on his travels has just arrived at my house and I have nothing to offer him;"

and the man answers from inside the house, "Do not bother me. The door is bolted now, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot get up to give it to you."

I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it to him for friendship's sake, persistence will make him get up and give his friend all he wants.

'So I say to you: Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks receives; everyone who searches finds; everyone who knocks will have the door opened.

What father among you, if his son asked for a fish, would hand him a snake?

Or if he asked for an egg, hand him a scorpion?

If you then, evil as you are, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!'


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

I give you a new commandment,
that you love one another.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

In the Gospel we heard yesterday Jesus gave us the “Our Father” prayer, a precious treasure that has been the daily companion of Christian prayer for twenty centuries. Jesus, however, knows that the disciples have doubts about the effectiveness of prayer. We could say that he understands the risk of reducing the “Our Father” itself to mere words. That is why he wants to clear up the doubts that are rising in the disciples’ hearts. Indeed, without prayer we cannot be saved. We need to pray with the certainty that our Father who is in heaven listens to us and answers us. Jesus insists that the disciples must pray with faith and insistence. And so he tells two parables. The first, the parable of the insisting friend, is almost a commentary on the fourth petition of the “Our Father,” that is, “give us this day our daily bread.” With it, Jesus seems to be telling his disciples to be “insisting” with the Father in prayer. Yes, the disciples must ask insistently. “So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you,” Jesus repeats to his disciples. He reassures them: what happens in the parable will happen to them too. Insistent prayer seems to compel God to “get up” and grant our request. And God, Jesus continues in the second parable, will not only respond, but he will always give good things to his children. God always listens to those who turn to him in faith. Prayer, the prayer of a son or daughter who trusts totally in the Father, truly has an incredible strength - it is even able to “bend” God towards us. This is why throughout the whole tradition of the Church perseverance in prayer has been one of the essential cornerstones of spiritual life. Unfortunately - in part because of the alienating pace of life today - we have difficulty praying, and we often do not persevere in prayer at all, especially common prayer. And often our trust is quite limited. Let our hearts be touched by this passage from the Gospel, and we will discover the strength and the effectiveness of prayer in our lives and in the lives of those for whom we will pray. Prayer saves lives. This is why it is crucial for us to find the time to turn to God every day and present to him ourselves and the world, asking him to intervene and save us all from evil. Today’s memory of Abraham reminds us of his intercession to save Sodom from destruction. Through insistence, he was able to deflect God’s wrath against the city (Gen 18:17-33). His example reminds us how important the prayer of believers is not only for them, but for the entire world. Prayer frees everyone from evil.

Memory of the Church