Saturday, August 7, 2010

Do I Pray With Faith?

Readings for Saturday, August 7/First Saturday:
Habakkuk 1:12-2:4
Psalm 9:8-13
Matthew 17:14-20

Do I pray with faith?

This question came to mind as I was reflecting on these readings yesterday. Do I pray with faith? It should be an easily answered question and yet I pondered it for a long while. I can point to a number of times when the petition that I had prayed for did not come to pass – was it because I lacked faith?

Sometimes when we go to pray our prayers are more like wishes that we would like to see come true rather than heart-felt petitions that we believe will come to be. The Lord doesn’t want us to wish for things. He wants us to pray for things. And to do so with a strong faith.

Christoph Cardinal Schonborn, the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna, Austria, once said that we ought to go to prayer like we go to war. You don’t go to war without having a plan and you can’t win a war without going on the offensive. So when you go to pray, know what it is that you’re praying for and when you pray for it, mean it. This can require a certain boldness on our part at times. It’s easy to be hesitant in praying, to be worried about coming off too strong and seeming almost to demand things. But I think the Lord responds and so do His saints when we pray this way. Sometimes we need to be like the woman in the gospel on Wednesday, who, when Jesus tells her He was not sent to for the gentiles, persists in prayer and makes an even more fervent prayer and is granted her prayer.

As we celebrate this First Saturday, I can’t help but think also of the faith of Our Mother, Mary. Mary’s faith never waivered and she too had a boldness in her petitioning. At the wedding feast at Cana, she tells Jesus about the need for more wine and when He asks what concern it if for the two of them, she utters the most bold statement of her life to the headwaiter: “Do whatever He tells you.” This is a nice way of saying “Son, you heard me the first time.” And for her boldness in seeking a miracle, she is heard. Can we too have that boldness in prayer? Can we have the faith to tell the Lord our petitions and trust that they will be heard?