Jesus confirms the Almighty Father answers those who persist in prayer. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by building the Virtue of Orderliness so he can study how to pray and practice prayer and by growing in the Virtue of Perseverance so he can persist in prayer even when God does not seem to at first answer.
1st Week of Lent – Thursday – Mt 7:7-12
Nearing the end of The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus offers instruction about perseverance in prayer. Jesus describes the nature of persistence, telling men to ask, seek, and knock; He is describing an active type of prayer that is specific about needs (ask), is driven to find truth (seek), and that is undeterred when God seems distant (knocking on a closed door). Jesus twice repeats His promise that God will answer those who ask, seek, and knock in prayer.
To explain persistence, Jesus offers an analogy about the nature of fatherhood, both human and divine. Speaking directly to the fathers present, Jesus asks them to confirm in their minds they would never feed their hungry son a stone or a serpent; if an evil father gives good gifts, men can be assured the Divine Father will respond with good gifts to the petitions of men, His adopted sons. The Father has perfect knowledge of each man’s needs before he asks; every Catholic man needs to be persistent in prayer and to be constantly reminded of God the Father’s many blessings and his absolute dependence on God.
As God the Father gives men good things, so should men give good things to others. Reiterating the Golden Rule, first given to Moses (by the Son of God, a Divine Person of the Trinity) a millennium earlier (Lev 19:18), Jesus exhorts men to do as they “wish that men would do to you, do so to them”, a summary of the entire Law and the Prophets. Jesus, the perfection of Charity, makes no exceptions, commanding men to love everyone, including neighbors, strangers, and enemies.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Be awed by what Jesus reveals about prayer: Son of the Father, with God the Father from the beginning, Jesus has heard every prayer that every man has ever uttered across time; Divine Knowledge, Jesus knows how God the Father hears and responds to prayer; Divine Priest, Jesus gives men explicit Instruction (a Spiritual Work of Mercy) about how to pray, urging men to pray to God the Father persistently for their needs; perfection of Reason, Jesus masterfully uses Pathos (a part of Reason which moves men’s hearts) in His examples of fathers and sons to strengthen men’s faith and hope that God the Father will respond to their prayers.
Study how to pray and practice prayer
Realize: To build a worldly skill, men seek the best knowledge and develop orderly routines of practice; likewise, to become skilled at drawing close to God, a Catholic man needs to learn to pray by studying Scripture, the Catechism, and the Saints, and praying with the Liturgy of the Church and through deep daily prayer.
Believe: Reflect upon the Wellspring of Prayer (CCC 2650-2662).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Discipline, help me build the Virtue of Orderliness (a part of Temperance) so I learn about prayer through the systematic study of Scripture, the Catechism and the Saints and consistently practice by praying with the Church’s liturgy and daily personal prayer; help me also to regularly lead my family in the reading of Scripture and prayer.
Persist in prayer when God doesn’t seem to answer
Realize: During times of significant suffering, a Catholic man can become discouraged if God doesn’t seem to answer his prayers.
Believe: Reflect upon the Battle of Prayer (CCC 2725-2745).
Pray: Almighty and Most Gracious Father, help me build the Virtue of Perseverance (a part of Fortitude) so I always can faithfully persist in prayer, particularly during times of stress and suffering or when Your responses are not obvious to me.