S25P6 – Prayer for a purpose: attention

Lk. 18:1

Now Jesus was telling the disciples a parable to make the point that at all times they ought to pray and not give up and lose heart…

A friend of mine tells a story about his childhood spent following his grandfather around like a shadow. Whether pop -pop was fixing a car or mowing the lawn or just having a cup of coffee, his grandson was always close behind. Perhaps you have had a similar relationship with someone where you were either the follower or the followed. It is common among siblings that a little brother or sister persistently seeks to spend time with an older sibling. All of these relationships share a characteristic. In each, we have one who is pursuing another because he or she sees that there is something of value to be obtained. Perhaps the value is in gaining wisdom from an older and more knowledgeable person. Maybe the value is in having a strong relationship with one you admire. This is the kind of pursuit God desires from us in prayer.

The parable that Jesus tells to illustrate how we are to pursue God in prayer speaks of an injured widow seeking justice from a judge who is not initially willing to give it to her. There is something of value she needs, so she continues to present him with her plea. He has her attention, and she is seeking his. Eventually, the judge gives in and orders what she has been requesting. This is a parable that instructs us to continue to seek God for that which is just and to trust that He will come through. One thing this persistence builds in us is a clear attention toward God. It creates an atmosphere of close relationship because we remain in prayer to him. The goal here is to keep that communion with the Father going. While Jesus undoubtedly is instructing us to seek after the Father when we initially hear no answer and receive no relief, He also is instructing us to simply remain in constant communication with the Father through attention in prayer.

If an unmet need is what it takes for me to remain in constant prayer with God, so be it. We too often remain in prayer only in such a situation. However, our Father desires that way continually work on our relationship with him through that sacred communication that He allows. It is a gift that we are able to approach the Father through the Son day or night. There are no off hours or blackout dates. If we have been given this gift, it is because God wants us to use it. Like the lovers who cannot bear to spend one moment away from each other, so should our desire be to remain in communion with God at all times. Only when we keep the conversation going can we expect to hear from him. Father, teach us to remain in prayer with You continually, and through your grace speak to us as we listen for your word.