Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Persistence In Prayer

This morning I read about Jesus healing the paralytic in Luke 5:17-26.

One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal. Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus; but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd in front of Jesus. When he saw their faith, he said, "Friend, your sins are forgiven you." Then the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, "Who is this who is speaking blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?" When Jesus perceived their questionings, he answered them, "Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven you,' or to say, 'Stand up and walk'? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins"-- he said to the one who was paralyzed--"I say to you, stand up and take your bed and go to your home." Immediately he stood up before them, took what he had been lying on, and went to his home, glorifying God. Amazement seized all of them, and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, "We have seen strange things today."

It was interesting to me that Jesus forgave the paralyzed man his sins, because of the great faith of his friends. When they could not get the man through to Jesus the first time they tried, they went even farther and came in through the roof. How incredible is that?! How many of us would be so persistent to have a friend healed?

It brings to mind the story of how St. Monica prayed for 17 years for her son before St. Augustine was finally converted. One priest is said to have told her that it was not possible for a son of so many tears to perish. This persistence in prayer is what is important. We are told this so many times in the Gospels. Praying for our friends and family, especially those who are wayward, is giving them a gift. The grace may not be realized right away. It may not even seem perceptible to us, but just like in the Gospel, God works on the heart first. Perhaps it may not even be about something quite so dramatic as St. Augustine's conversion, but how many of us are in need of prayers? I know I could use as many as possible. When nothing else can be done, the answer should always be prayer. I plan to incorporate a prayer for friends and family into my day. Won't you join me?

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