Step #1: Lectio / Read
Click the link below or open your Bible to the passage and read through the reading at least once, paying attention to what is happening in the text.
Step #2: Meditatio / Meditate
Use the following meditation to help you reflect more deeply on the Scripture (you may want to read the passage again).
Can you remember a time where you had a long wait to get something you were passionate about having? Our first memories might dance over a birthday or Christmas gift, and the delight of expectant waiting and receiving. Upon deeper reflection, we might discover other moments of intense waiting: perhaps waiting for the results from a doctor, being involved in an actual court case, waiting to hear about a friend’s safety, for a college acceptance, or perhaps the waiting for relief from a painful wound or situation.
Whatever the thing you were waiting upon, you can remember that feeling of anticipation, longing, desiring an outcome, yet not being in control of making that outcome happen. There is a powerlessness that pervades this waiting, as well as an anxiety, a hopefulness, and an anticipation.
In today’s gospel reading, we hear a story just like this; a woman’s long wait is over when the judge is moved by her persistence. Jesus tells us that this judge has no conscience, fearing neither human nor God, and thus is only motivated by self-interest. The woman finally wins the judge over through consistency and perseverance in her plea.
Imagine, for a minute, how persistent this woman would have had to be to get this corrupt judge to take notice and then to act. What would cause her to be this persistent? What was at stake in her case that would cause her to – probably – make a public show of her persistence? The gospel never says, but perhaps in your payer, reflect on possible reasons. The gospel affirms her radical and public persistence by the description of the judge who was not motivated by any sense of goodness, thus this woman must have had a really strong reason – perhaps life altering – to keep pleading for justice.
Jesus invites us to ask ourselves: when have we prayed with this kind of reckless abandon and persistence before God? Have we ever wanted something so bad from our prayer that we became like this woman? When the wait is long for something we desire, we may be tempted to slack off in our desire or maybe even give up. If we are honest with ourselves, this can happen often in our prayer with God. We begin in prayer with hope and confidence in God, but when God seems to be absent, not listening, or the answer we want is not coming quick enough, we weaken our resolve to keep praying, and maybe even weaken our belief that God is listening. This is human, but the Gospel today challenges us to resist these feelings and pray like our life depended on it – because it does!
Prayer as a conversation with God is anything but boring; it is life-giving and life-altering, but on God’s time, not on ours. What is asked of us is boldness and perseverance. Pray today on how God is inviting you to strengthen your boldness and persistence with Him in your prayer.
Step #3: Oratio / Pray
These questions are to be used to talk to God; have a conversation with the Lord about these questions and what is going on in your heart as you pray today.
What do you think the woman in the gospel was thinking about as she continued to go to the judge and ask for help? Use your imagination to place yourself in this story and learn from the emotions she may have been feeling.
What are some situations in your life where you know you should turn to God but you might be struggling because things aren't going as planned?
In what ways is God calling you to boldness and persistence in your prayer?
Step #4: Contemplatio / Contemplate
In this step, you listen. Stop talking, let God speak to your heart. You may repeat one of these short phrases to focus your mind on the Lord.
"Jesus, I trust in you."
"Come, Holy Spirit."
"Help me to be persistent."
Step #5: Actio / Act
In light of today's reading and your time spent in prayer with the Lord, what concrete action or actions will you take to let this encounter with the Lord bear fruit in you today?
Do something today that maybe you've been putting off because it's difficult. It might just be cleaning a part of your room/house that has gotten out of control, or calling a friend you haven't talked to in way too long and you have to talk to about something difficult, or maybe going for a run when you'd really rather watch Disney+ all day. Whatever it is, do something that requires some boldness and persistence in practical things in your life, helping remind you of the boldness and persistence we're praying about here.
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Today’s prayer was prepared by Jon Polce, SJ.
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