Queen Esther is a Jew married to the Persian king. There are many of her Jewish brethren in Persia as a result of exile and there are forces mounting against them in the person of Mordecai, a palace official who is seeking to destroy the Jews. Esther decides that she must, intercede for her people even though it may cause her to lose her life if the king does not welcome her intervention. We have in our First Reading Esther’s prayer before embarking on her perilous mission. In the Gospel we find Jesus exhorting his disciples to perseverance in prayer.

These two readings capture for us something of the essence of prayer in that they call us to entrust our lives into the hands of God and to persevere in doing this no matter what the situation may be. As a priest I often have people coming to me asking for help in their prayer-life. The biggest problem with most peoples’ prayer lives is a lack of perseverance and consistency. We tend to want instant answers to all of our requests and God does not seem to be as forthcoming as we may like Him to be.

There are no simple solutions to these problems other than to make the decision to be faithful in prayer and stick to this commitment. Perhaps it could be helpful for each of us to reflect a bit more upon the nature of prayer as we see it in the life of Queen Esther. Esther knows that she is about to embark upon a life-threatening task. She is under no illusion as to how dangerous her mission might be to here health and so she entrusts her life into God’s hands, praying for Him to intervene in the situation that concerns her so much.

Perhaps we ought to see our journey of life in a similar vein. That is, without placing our lives into God’s hands we will be easy prey for sin and corruption. As we wake each day it is vitally important for us to entrust ourselves to God for His protection and strength in the battles that will confront us during the day. Without God’s help the probability is that sin will get the better of us and we will end the day in a worse position than which we started it! There is a solution to this problem and it involves surrendering our lives in prayer to God – in persevering in trusting our lives to His care! This is a choice we will need to make every day. It is not something to ignore or take lightly. It is a matter of ultimate life and death.

Am I committed to persevering in daily prayer? How can I strengthen my prayer life so that I will grow in my faith in God?

Father in Heaven, you stand at the door and wait for us to answer your knock. Grant me the grace to be faithful to a daily prayer routine and to never let the day end without engaging you in prayer and offering you the gift of my life once again.