The parable before us in this week’s Gospel might well lead us to ask the question, ‘Does God really need convincing before He answers our prayers?’
“I tell you, if the man does not get up and give it to him for friendship’s sake, persistence will be enough to make him get up and give his friend all he wants.”
A little knowledge of Greek will help us with this question, for the word anaideia, translated in our text this week as ‘persistence’ could perhaps be better translated better as ‘shamelessness’.
Yes, Jesus is encouraging us to a certain boldness when we pray – to be ‘shameless’ in our prayer. This boldness comes from familiarity – from regular prayer. The man who goes knocking on the door of his neighbor late at night is counting on his friends’ generosity, he is presuming on his friends’ willingness to not leave him hungry. So we too might count on, or trust in, God’s desire to not leave us hungry.
For me this brings to mind the words of one of the great spiritual geniuses of our Catholic tradition, St Teresa of Avila, when she said once ; “Do God a favor and ask of Him something great.”
“Teach us to pray.” the disciples ask Jesus, these might be our words too as we gather for mass this weekend.