The easiest response to a problem when it gets difficult to handle is to give up! But where does that leave us? It leaves us back where we started without a solution to our original problem. The character of Hamlet in Shakespeare’s play by the same name says at one time the following words in commentary on a dilemma he is facing: “To be or not to be. That is the question. Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or by taking arms against a sea of troubles so end them…” I like this sort of attitude! Facing up to our problems, facing up to the truth, will bring an end to the dilemma that is confronting us! If we never face our problems we will live a life of fear, constantly running from the challenges of our lives.

The widow in the Gospel knows that the judge is a bit of a rascal but she decides to confront him in the only way possible for her – she decides to be constant in her plea until he gives in! Why does she do this? She does it because she knows that she is in the right and that the truth will ultimately prevail. This is an example of what prayer and intercession should be to us. They are opportunities to persevere in what we believe to be the will of God. A good sign that something is not the will of God is our inability or incapacity to make the decision to persevere in the matter with God.

If we truly believe that our God is a righteous God; if we truly believe that what we are asking of Him is a part of His will for our lives then we should prove it by persevering in prayer and storming the heavens with our cries and intercessions until God grants us a favourable hearing. If we are not willing to persevere, how can God be sure that we really want something or that we are willing to persevere to the end to bring about His will?

We cannot expect everything to be given to us on a silver platter before we have asked for it! St Teresa of Avila tells us that one of the most important attitudes to have in prayer is a strong desire for relationship with God; a strong desire to be obedient to His will. With a strong desire in our hearts we will never grow weary of placing our petitions before God and beginning to act upon them as though they have already been answered! This is the type of faith that makes mountains jump up and fall into the sea!

Am I willing to persevere in prayer until the end or do I give up as soon as I encounter the first obstacle?

Holy Spirit, take me more deeply into the fire of your love and grant that my heart will be truly set on fire for love of God. Help me to grow in the grace of perseverance that is built on the sure hope and knowledge of God’s will being done in my life. Help me to believe in the perfection of your providential care of me.