Thursday of the First Week of Lent
(Esther C12:14-16; 23-25; Matthew 7:7-12)
Why do people pray? The age-old question is probably made more by unbelievers than by believers. Still, the faithful need to ask themselves if they think that they might change God’s will by their efforts. Is He not changeless? If so, then why bother to seek His helpim??
Yet prayer is the most urgent of Christian actions. Christians cannot help but pray because it is the Holy Spirit that is prompting them to pray from within. Their prayers do not change God, but through their prayers God is changing them. First, He moves them to seek His help. Then they discover resources within themselves to meet the demands they face. Finally, they find possibilities outside them at every turn to help them. It has been wisely said that God’s posture toward pray-ers does not change with their prayer. It always remains one of pure love.
In today’s gospel Jesus urges his disciples to pray for what they need. The first reading pictures the Jewish Queen Esther of Persia doing that as she prepares to meet with her husband, the king of Persia. Her prayers lead to the salvation of her people as she unmasks the maliciousness of its persecutor.