NOVENA TO THE SACRED HEART: THIRD DAY – WHEN I FIND PRAYER DIFFICULT
TODAY’S SCRIPTURE Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’” Luke 18:1-6
REFLECTION FOR THE THIRD DAY Prayer isn’t easy. Partly, we find it difficult to have a conversation with somebody who isn’t visible to us and who doesn’t usually respond in an audible voice. Yet, perhaps one of the most difficult things about prayer is the challenge of what we call unanswered prayer. When we cry out to God but he seems not to be listening, or when his answer appears to be “No,” we find it hard to keep on praying.
To encourage us to hang in there when we’re discouraged about prayer, Jesus tells the parable of the unjust judge (or alternatively and more-correctly, the persistent widow). The judge found himself besieged by a woman who insisted that she grant him justice. When he ignored her, she kept on begging him. Finally, he gave her what she wanted to keep her from wearing him out!
There are times when the answer to prayer is astounding. But then there are other times, times when God seems to be offline, times when my prayers bounce back from the ceiling, times when my sensible requests appear to be rejected for no good reason.
In times like these I can feel frustrated,
perplexed, and angry. Most of all, I feel discouraged. I lose my desire to pray,
and wonder if it really matters. The parable of the unjust judge doesn’t answer my theological questions, that’s for sure. But it does encourage me to keep on praying, even when my heart is weary.
Thank you, Lord, for this encouragement.
TODAY’S PRAYER Jesus, I believe.
Help my unbelief.
You are the bedrock of my hope.
Help me to rely on You,
especially in times of doubt
Take us to Your Heart.
In this time of uncertainty
and distress, sustain and support the anxious and fearful, and lift up all who are brought low; that we may remain in Your comfort, knowing that nothing can separate us from Your love.
Lord Jesus, your Heart is moved
when we are suffering,
when we need your help,
and when we pray for each other.
I ask you to listen to my prayer
during this Novena,
(Mention your intention.)
and to grant what is best.
Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
(pray this many times during the day)