Get to the Point

– Tuesday 11th week in Ordinary Time –

“When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him” [Matthew 7:7 – 8]

Read the two verses lifted from today’s gospel reading again very carefully. Notice every word. Even though what we see here is ‘only’ a translation, your ancient Greek may be too rusty to tackle the original. Join the club. These are the words we have, and they all matter.

As a precursor to the Lord’s prayer, they retain a significance that should not be overlooked. Take the first phrase, “when you are praying”. Notice Jesus’ presumption here – that you will be a person of prayer. For those who follow Jesus, prayer is not an optional extra. Instead, it is intrinsic to who we are – we are men and women of prayer.

So we confront our first question for reflection: can you truly be described as a person of prayer?

The second question follows quickly: how do you pray?

We belong to a faith tradition that, on the one hand, is all about the words. Sit in Mass sometime, or pray the liturgy of the hours, and notice the sheer quantity of the words. That has its place, but don’t let that dictate your personal prayer.

Not only are we men and women of prayer, but we are sons and daughters of God. Unlike the prophets of Baal depicted in 1 Kings 18, themselves an example of ‘the Gentiles’ mentioned in today’s text (take a moment to locate and read this story), we are to keep our prayer simple, confident and full of trust. We are to pray like Elijah (1 Kings 18:37), an approach to prayer that surely informs Jesus’ teaching.

God waits for you as a parent keeping a watchful eye over an infant. Place your trust in him.


by Shane Dwyer

get the daily reflections sent directly to your email

Copyright © 2020 · All Rights Reserved

Thank you, we'll be in touch soon

You can close this page now, or if you would like to learn more about us, check out our website.