First Reading (Gen 28: 20-21, 23-32): Abraham pleaded for Sodom
Second Reading (Col 2: 12-14): We are buried and raised to life with Christ
in Baptism
Gospel (Lk 11: 1-13): How we should pray
Chinese classics:”
-“The person and the mirror were gone The mirror came back but the person did not. The shadow of the Lady on the Moon could not be restored, only the bright moon shone in the empty sky.” (1)
-“Man proposes, Heaven disposes” (2)

I say to you, Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened... If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (Lk 11: 9-13)

Jesus used six different phrases and approaches to repeatedly stress this important fact: our prayer is effective, God really is pleased to listen to our petitions.

Faith assures us that if we have the confidence that moves mountains (Mk 11:23) and ask in the name of Christ (Jn 14: 13), our prayers will bring results. God will answer our prayers and fulfill our desires.

If our requests are not answered it may be due to two reasons. First, our request may not be appropriate (Jas 4:2-3), secondly, what we ask for will do us no good, or even might harm us. It is much like children who ask parents for a knife or a harmful toy. Would parents give it to them?

But no matter what or how, God will give us whatever gift is suitable and best for us.
In this connection, Christians’ prayer should be similar to the prayer of Jesus, who asked God that ‘God's will be done... ’ On the Mount of Olives Jesus prayed, “Not my will but yours be done” (Lk 22:42). This was also Mary's prayer, Behold the handmaid of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word.” (Lk 1: 38)

As for those who pray with perseverance, the results are like those of the man in the Bible who believed that if he continued to beg for bread at midnight, he would eventually get all that he requested. “Even though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, at least because of his persistence+ he will get up and give him whatever he needs.”(Luke 11:8)

When we persist in prayer we show that we love God. It is an act of firm belief in God's promise that manifests our unshakable trust in God.

In families whose members are filled with love for each other, children have the strongest and unconditional trust in their parents. In true sincere friendship, friends will trust each other's commitment to each other. Behind such faith and trust, we also believe in God's sometimes imperceptible care, blessing and support.

When Jesus came to face his passion, though he could not see what lay ahead, even in the midst of terrible suffering he still showed his steadfast reliance on his heavenly Father. Though St. Monica could see no indication of when her son Augustine would change for the better, she unceasingly prayed for him. She firmly believed that God would one day lead him to conversion.

Have we ever prayed persistently, daily, earnestly, all life long, for something or someone, for an ideal, for our world about which we are so concerned? Have we ever had unshakable faith and placed everything in the hands of God, trusting completely in the Lord's promise that “those who seek will find?”

There is a Chinese story called “The Reunion of the Broken Mirror.” The story illustrates human perseverance and hope in the future, including the unwavering reliance on the arrangements of Heaven above.

The Southern Dynasty was in a state of war and turmoil. Xu De Yan knew that as a matter of course his beautiful wife, the Princess Le Chang, would be kidnapped. So he broke a mirror in half and gave one piece to his wife and kept one himself. He hoped that the two halves of the mirror would reunite them later. After the war ended, Xu De Yan brought his half of the mirror to the market and met a man selling a broken mirror. He took out his half and put it together with that of the man's. They made a perfect match. He wrote this poem on the mirror. “The person and the mirror were gone. The mirror came back but the person did not. The shadow of the Lady of the Moon could not be restored, only the bright moon shone in the empty sky.”(1) When the Princess Le Chang saw the reunion of the two halves of the mirror, she recognized that it was Xu De Yan and was reunited with him.

These are the main concepts about prayer that Jesus talks about today: a firm grasp of life, an unmovable pursuit of ideals, fullness of faith in the future, stubborn reliance on God's care for all creatures and trust that 'those who seek will surely find.' So we persevere in our petitions, awaiting God with earnestness and patience.

A friend of mine has a very good habit . Whenever he meets with a problem, he deliberately does not think about the problem. He first puts everything else aside and goes to pray before the Blessed Sacrament. Only after that does he think about how to solve the problem. He reasons that he does not want to face the problem alone. He chooses rather to face it with God.

It is said that some counseling groups use a team approach. Whenever a group member goes to a lecture or a workshop, another group member will pray before the Blessed Sacrament for the working member. We may endeavor to put forth all our energies, but it is God who transforms and moves people. It is the best footnote to the adage, “Man propose, but God disposes.”(2)

(2) 謀事在人,成事在天。