Purpose of Prayer

We pray for many people, things, and circumstances, but why do we pray for these needs? Does God not already know them? Do we pray to activate God who might otherwise forget or ignore our needs? Is He unaware of them or their importance to us?

No, brothers and sisters, we pray because that is how we connect to God, how we grow closer to Him and get to know Him (and ourselves) better. We do not pray to change God’s mind, but rather to transform our own. We do not pray to influence God’s Divine Will, but rather to give up our own will and embrace His in all things.

Pray Like the Unrelenting Widow

We have got to give credit to the “stubborn” widow in today’s Gospel. She demonstrates two key qualities to which we should all aspire: boldness and perseverance.


This widow, probably poor and of no importance, did not consider her lowly status a reason to back down. Without hesitation, she went to the only person who could take care of her needs. She had nothing to lose, so she chose to march herself over to the judge and boldly present her needs.

Why would Jesus compare the Father to a dishonest judge? He did so to emphasize how going to the Father is an obvious and easy decision. Thankfully, we are not approaching a dishonest judge! If the widow received her desire from a man such as this one, why would we ever doubt whether we ought to go to God? The solution to our needs is clear: we are coming to our Creator, our loving Father. Though God is infinitely greater than we, we too have nothing to fear because He desires boldness. So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help. -Hebrews 4:16.


How often did the unrelenting widow approach the judge? Perhaps daily or even more often? We certainly get that impression because the dishonest judge seems to grant her request out of sheer exasperation.

Do we sometimes feel as if we are praying the same prayers over and over? Do we wonder if God is annoyed or exhausted by our repeated requests?

On the contrary, Jesus seems to praise this attitude of heart:

The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.

Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones

who call out to him day and night?

Will he be slow to answer them?

I tell you; he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. -Luke 18: 6-7

Day and night, over and over, God never tires of hearing us. We hear this echo in 1 Thessalonians 5:17: Pray without ceasing.

Let us learn from children who chatter endlessly to their parents all day long, and if not put to bed, would continue to talk into the night.

Jesus desires that we become like children in our attitude in prayer. A child asks his Papa for his needs. He does not consider cost, availability, or any other obstacle. The child simply asks and trusts. He continuously engages, never once thinking he is a bother. He knows his father is always up to something for his own good.

This is the purpose of learning to pray endlessly, to pray without ceasing. Let us firmly resolve to adopt this awareness and heartfelt conviction: God is our Papa. His will is good and perfect. In every moment, He is up to something for our good. If this is our constant and natural perspective, we are indeed in perpetual prayer of the heart.

[Readings: Ex 17:8-13; 2 Tm 3:14-4:2; Lk 18:1-8]

Celina Manville

I have been in education for 20+ years, mostly working in Catholic schools serving children with special needs. Ed and I have been married over 26 years and have 3 (now) adult children - Eddie, Tony, & Kateri. Since my mom was from Brazil, and I speak fluent Portuguese, I can understand Spanish fairly well. Currently, we live in Wake Forest, North Carolina, and are parishioners at St. Luke, the Evangelist Catholic Church in Raleigh. I am most grateful to my parents for grounding me in the faith, to the Franciscan University of Steubenville for its amazing formation and education, and to Christ and His Blessed Mother for being at my side.

1 Comment

  1. Cosmo+DiCioccio on October 16, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    👍 Thank you

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