The gospel this week (Luke 18:1-8) tells about the parable of the unjust judge. He draws sharp lines of contrast between this man and a widow who comes to him for justice. This widow, because of who she was and where she found herself, this widow had no other option than continually beating a path to this judge. We are not given a clue about what she demanded. She simply wanted justice and she persisted in her claim. Like this widow, we must be persistent in our praying, that we must not give up, that we must not loose heart.
God no doubt has good reason in making us persistent in prayer. Learning to pray is just like learning to play a musical instrument well. For many of us do not have that knowledge of playing music instrument. But for those who play, they should understand. To become proficient at any instrument, you must really want to play and be willing to learn the basic techniques really well by practicing them time and time again. Once you master them, you can begin to play well. Similarly, only after we spend much time with God in what may seem like a lot of futile attempts at praying can we learn the basic approach to praying well.
Suzanne Guthrie, an Episcopal priest, has something revealing to say on the subject. The young musician in my house complains, “Why do I have to practice these scales? They are waste of time. I already know these notes!” She answers: “You have to practice notes to get good, fluent sound, to read harder music faster, and to improve your breathing and your technique… I want to tell him more: You must practice these scales so that when the Spirit stirs up its power and comes upon you, you can play what it tells you, uninhibited, unhindered by the clumsiness of your fingers or your breathing. Your sound must be so pure that you can translate the most divine secrets into language that other souls can understand, if God so wills it. You must be a slave to a scale now, so that later you will be able to muster the most excessive freedom imaginable. Be patient, therefore, strengthen your heart.”
(Beginning To Pray; Suzanne Guthrie; The christian century)
Rev Samata Elia