Daily Reflection
October 9th, 2003
Tom Shanahan, S.J.
University Relations
Click here for a photo of and information on this writer.
Malachi 3:13-20
Psalm 1:1-2, 3, 4, 6
Luke 11:5-13

The passage in today’s gospel reading follows immediately upon St. Luke’s version of the Our Father.  It seems to give further explanation of the disciples’ original petition of Jesus: “Lord, teach us how to pray.”  I am struck by the stress on persistence in prayer.  Jesus tells the story of the man who at midnight goes to ask a friend for loaves of bread because friends of his have come unexpectedly and he needs to feed them after their long journey.

If the friend replies that he is already in bed and he won’t give up his bread, the story  indicates that even though he doesn’t give up the bread because of his friendship, he will give it up because of his persistence.  The familiar words of Jesus are an encouragement to us, “ask and you will receive; seek and you will find.”   Anyone who asks receives and the one who knocks will have the door opened for her.  The “bottom line” is that God gives to us out of love and God knows us intimately to give us what is good for us.

This bottom line is so clear and yet its truth comes to us so slowly.  The spirit  of the gospel reading today is that I am called to boldness in my asking God for what I want.  Often enough I don’t expect that the prayers will get answered and this is MY difficulty, and not the issue with prayer in general and especially prayer of petition. As any good parent wants what is best for their children, so God wants what is best for us and will provide it.  Can I believe and trust in that?  That’s the challenge of the gospel today.

Can I be bold in asking? and in expecting that my petition will be answered?  St. Ignatius in the Spiritual Exercises makes it abundantly clear that the one making the retreat is to articulate what she/he wants from the particular exercise about to be done.  The id quod volo (“that which I want”) is a key to the outcome of the Exercises themselves.  For us who are engaged in the “online retreat” we need to be bold and persistent in asking God for what we want.

Lord, help me to know that you care and love me.  Help me to expect that care to be realized concretely in my life and not to be afraid to ask for it.  Help me to develop the persistence of the man in Jesus’ story today.


Click on the link below to send an e-mail response
to the writer of this reflection.

Let Your Friends Know About This Reflection By Sending Them An E-mail


Collaborative Ministry Office Guestbook