Reflection on the Scriptures Seventeenth Sunday Gospel C The power of prayer

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 Seventeenth Sunday Gospel C

Jesus was praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray just as John taught his disciples.”  He said to them, “When you pray, say: Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread and forgive us our sins for we ourselves forgive everyone in debt to us, and do not subject us to the final test.” 

· Matthew gives us a slightly longer version of the Our Father in the Sermon on the Mount. (Mt.6:9-15). Read and compare the two.

· In the prayer Jesus stresses the Fatherhood of God and his due. He also reminds us that God is the source of our sustenance, the source of forgiveness and the source of protection and deliverance in the time of trials.

· As you pray the Our Father slowly reflect on the phrases you are saying and explore what each means to you.

· Luke gives us two petitions that relate to who God is and three petitions that impact our relationship to God.

And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him,’ and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed.  I cannot get up to give you anything.’ I tell you, if he does not get up to give the visitor the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. 

· Not only does Jesus share his own prayer with the apostles, but he teaches them the need to persevere in prayer. This perseverance is not only in asking again and again but coming back to God again and again. Perseverance of presence as well as need.

· This persistency is based on a conviction of trust in the love of the person of God.

· How much time do we spend in prayer before the Lord?

“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.  

· There is a sense of certainty that God will respond. Maybe not the way we desire, but in a way that is good for us.

What father among you would hand his son a snake when he asks for a fish?  Or hand him a scorpion when he asks for an egg?  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?”

· That persistency and certainty in prayer are based on the person of God, who is Father, and on the love of God for his own.

· The person and work of the Holy Spirit are important themes in Luke’s Gospel.

· The person of the Holy Spirit is the perfect love between the Father and the Son and is the greatest gift God desires to give to us, namely himself. When the Father loves the Son and the Son the Father, they are giving of their total self one to the other, that is the Holy Spirit. The same is true with God to us.

· How are we to receive this gift? Pray and ask God to pour out his Spirit in a fresh new way into our lives. Pray with the assurance of certitude in the love God has for you.

· What does this passage say to you about your prayer life? What does it say about your relationship to the Holy Spirit?

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