Jesus encourages us al to be persistent in prayer. Sometimes I think there is a delay in the answering of our prayers simply because God is interested to know exactly how much we really want something. If somebody wants something badly enough there is often very little they will not do to get it.

The last line of the Gospel is a comparison between the goodness of a person and the goodness of God. If a person will give in to what is right through persistence, how much more will God give in to the insistent pleas of one of His followers? And what is more, God is only too willing to give the gift of the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!

This is not to say that God will give us everything that we ask him to give us. Sometimes what we ask of Him is not for our own good and thus He does not give it to us no matter how insistently we ask! Discernment is an important and mysterious element of the whole equation of God’s will for our lives. It is not always obvious to us what is the best for us, whereas it is to God.

Trusting that God knows what is the best for us is an essential part of the process. Sometimes the best prayer is not to specify what we want God to give us, but to leave that up to God to decide. We might be able to avoid some disappointment if we are careful not to presume that we know the mind of God. Read the story of Job if you are in any doubt about this!

Jesus assures us that God has our best interests at heart. There is no need to doubt that we will be given all that we need to follow Him. However, God’s understanding of what we need and our own will not necessarily coincide. It is at these times that we should be patient and trusting. Yes, by all means petition God with as much persistence as you have, but know that if it is not in your best interests to get what you want, God may very well not give it to you.

How persistent am I when I ask God for something? Do I really let Him know that I want it badly or am I half-hearted in my requests? Do I seek God’s mind on the matter before I ask Him for something?

Holy Spirit, help me to discern well what it is that God wants me to do with my life. Grant me the grace to know what I need to be of service to the Kingdom of God.