Persevere in prayer, remembering that God is waiting to answer his children – even if the result is to change the person, not the circumstance, Pope Francis said at the general audience today.
“How many times have we asked and not obtained – we all experience it – how many times have we knocked and found a closed door? Jesus urges us, in those moments, to insist and not to give up,” the Pope said.
“Prayer,” he continued, “always transforms reality, always. If things do not change around us, at least we change, change our heart. Jesus promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to every man and to every woman who prays.”
In his continuing catechesis on the ‘Our Father,’ Pope Francis reflected on Jesus’ instructions about prayer in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 11, when he teaches his disciples “to pray and to insist in prayer”.
“He promised us: He is not like a father who gives a snake instead of a fish. There is nothing more certain: the desire for happiness that we all carry in our hearts will one day be fulfilled,” he stated.
Francis noted the very first words Jesus taught his disciples to use when praying: “Our Father”.
“We can stay all the time in prayer with that word alone: ‘Father.’ And to feel that we have a father: not a master or a stepfather. No: a father,” he added. “The Christian addresses God by calling him above all ‘Father.’”
Recalling the verse in Luke which says, “What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?” he invoked the experience of fathers and grandfathers, when their hungry children and grandchildren ask and cry for food: “You feed him what he asks for, for the good of him,” he said.
“With these words Jesus makes us understand that God always answers, that no prayer will remain unheard,” he said, adding: “Why? Because he is a Father, and he does not forget his children who suffer.”
Francis noted how such statements about prayer can cause people distress, because so many prayers seem to get no result and no answer from God.
“We can be sure that God will answer,” he said. “The only uncertainty is due to the time, but we do not doubt that He will answer. Maybe we will have to insist for a lifetime, but He will answer.”
“Jesus says: ‘Will God not do justice to his elect, who cry day and night to him?’ Yes, he will do justice, he will listen to us,” the Pope stated. “What a day of glory and resurrection will it be! Praying is now the victory over loneliness and despair.”
At the moment, creation is “heaving in the torpor of a story that we sometimes do not grasp,” he continued. “But it’s moving, it’s on its way, and at the end of every street, what’s at the end of our road?”
“At the end of prayer, at the end of a time when we are praying, at the end of life: what is there? There is a Father waiting for everything and waiting for everyone with his arms wide open. We look at this Father,” he concluded.
Catholic News Agency