[In the Our Father] Christians learn to share in Christ’s own spiritual experience and to see all things through his eyes. From him who is light from light, the only-begotten Son of the Father, we come to know God and can thus kindle in others the desire to draw near to him.
Pope Francis Lumen Fidei – Light of the Faith
This week’s readings, at first glance, seem to be about changing God’s mind.
- God wants to destroy Sodom, and Abraham appears to talk him out of it (Gen. 18:20-32).
- The friend gives in to his neighbor’s demands because of his persistence (Lk. 11: 5-8).
These readings seem to be saying that if we pray hard enough or persistently enough or in the right way, God will give us what we ask.
But I think that misses the point. The purpose of prayer isn’t to change God’s mind. The purpose of prayer is to change us. It changes the way we see everything. Christian prayer enables us to experience God the way Jesus experienced God. The one who prays persistently sees the world with new eyes… with the eyes of Jesus.
Our image of God changes. We begin to understand that God is not a God of vengeance. He is not a God who wants to destroy (“For the sake of those ten, I will not destroy it.”).
Instead, God is a loving Father (“Our Father”) who will give us more than we can imagine. When our prayers are small and trite (we ask for a “fish” or an “egg” (Cf. Lk. 11:11-12)), God gives us the Holy Spirit!
Through our persistent prayer, may the Holy Spirit flow into our hearts and teach us to see with the eyes of faith.
Lincoln A. Wood