The School of Hard Knocks (Seventeenth Ordinary)

One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said, “Master, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples”. So he said, “When you pray, say, Father, reveal who you are. Set the world right. Keep us alive with three square meals. Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others. Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil”. (Luke 11: 1 – 4)

A young man I was on retreat with once told this story of prayer: “I was so angry at God because I had asked  and asked God to help me stop doing drugs. And then before long I was getting high again.

“I was angry at God and I was angry at my parents who told me that God would help me if I asked. And I was angry at my Catholic school teachers who taught me the same thing. I was especially angry one Sunday when I went back to church after a long time and the priest said that we should be persistent in prayer and not give up.

“But I wanted to give up. I could no longer trust God after being seemingly turned down, or worse, ignored, so many times before. And yet a few days later, after another horrific night acting in ways that left me shamed and empty and aching, I got down on my knees one more time. I uttered just two words: ‘God, help!’

“And I felt something. I was an inner click of willingness. Something inside shifted, and trust was born inside me. It only took that moment, and my recovery began. And now I’m glad for every prayer I said along the way. It took all that praying not to change God, but to change me”.

All posts