St. Mary-the-Virgin, News for Sunday 20th October 2019: Pray continually and never lose heart.
Before we look to Sunday and the week ahead, there is a more pressing need which requires your urgent attention: and that is your prayers in earnest for our beloved friend Susan Tye Smith who received the last rites from Fr Edward yesterday. It is so important at this time that we pray for her and for her brother, Fr Mark Elliott-Smith. Pray continually and never lose heart.
That is the message that Jesus gives his disciples in our Gospel reading from Luke on Sunday, the Twenty-ninth Sunday in Ordinary Time.
Prayer is not a “one off”. We don’t pray once and expect God to respond. Jesus uses a parable to explain to his disciples how a widow kept on asking the judge for justice, and how we must pray continually to Our Father in Heaven. Prayer is not something we do once a week in church on a Sunday, or even once a day. Prayer is our means of talking to God – and we should be doing it often, frequently … or, as Jesus tells us, continually. We spend so much time talking to people around us, that perhaps we need to take some of that time and talk to God in prayer.
There are many opportunities to pray in church this week. Every day the office of Morning and Evening Prayer is said. these are set prayers that are said by Christians throughout the world – and there is something special when people gather together in prayer. Of course we pray during the Masses that take place throughout the week; and there is the Rosary, a special prayer to Our Lady that is said on Tuesdays at 6.00pm. There are also times to pray in front of the Blessed Sacrament – and if you can’t get to church, then please join with us through the web-cams.
Of course, prayer doesn’t just happen in church. We can pray in the street, in the garden, at work, at home – wherever you can find an opportunity to give yourself some time and space to pray in earnest; without distraction; without interruption. There are so many people and causes that are so desperately in need of our prayers, that even if we prayed continually there would never be enough time: but we are reassured by the words of Jesus: “never lose heart”.