What Counts In Prayer?
Galatians 3:1-5; Luke 11:5-13
A little boy was always asking God for this and that whenever he prayed. His mother once said to him, My son, don't ask God for so many things; just report for duty. Such advice may make the child think that we ought to get away from prayers of petition. And yet, Jesus strongly encouraged prayers of petition: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Lk 11:9). Devoted parents, even if they must struggle to keep their patience, are pleased when their children ask them for favours or help. Children ask because they have faith that their parents have power to help them and they have faith in their parents love for them. When we pray, Jesus asks us to believe in God's almighty power and in his tremendous love for us his children. St Paul says that all the good works we do are the result of hearing with faith (Gal 3:5). So too, the effectiveness of our prayer rests on our faith in God's power and love. It is not the arithmetic of our prayer how many they are; it is not the rhetoric of our prayer how eloquent they are; it is not the geometry of prayer how long they are; it is not the music of prayer how sweet they sound, which God cares for. Faith is what counts in prayer.