The invitation to prayer continues with today’s Sunday readings. First, we see Abraham in conversation (prayer) with God, interceding on behalf of the population of that sinful city, Sodom. (Genesis 18:20-32) Abraham is quite comfortable in this dialogue with God, imploring God to reveal His justice through restraining his wrath on behalf of the few innocent people who may reside in Sodom. Of course, as one reads on further from today’s portion of Genesis, we see that God provides for the exit of the innocent prior to the destruction of the city and all within.
Perhaps the prayer of the innocent is found best expressed in the Psalm of today, Psalm 138: Lord, on the day I called for help, you answered me.
The brief excerpt from St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians expresses God’s answer to our prayer for help.
Even when you were dead in transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he brought you to life along with him, having forgiven us all our transgressions; obliterating the bond against us, with its legal claims, which was opposed to us, he also removed it from our midst, nailing it to the cross. (Colossians 2:12-14)
Finally, we are given the great prayer of Jesus, the Lord’s Prayer, in Luke’s Gospel (Luke 11:1-13). It is not coincidental that Jesus teaches us to pray, not only by giving us the words, but especially, by his example. Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray…”
Often in the Gospels we see Jesus at prayer. His prayer is an intimate communion with His Father, whom He teaches us to call Our Father. After giving us the words of prayer, Jesus teaches us concerning the attitude of prayer: And I tell you, ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.
Our attitude is to be one of great trust and confidence. Our stance of prayer is to be one of constant perseverance.
Finally, we learn what is most important to ask for in prayer; The Holy Spirit! If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him?
Here we learn the fruit of prayer is communion with God the Father, through Jesus, in the Holy Spirit. Thus, the fruit of prayer is love. The fruit of prayer is service. The fruit of prayer is right relationship with God! Such is the life God has created for us; the life of holiness, love, and generous service!