The Word of Jesus on Prayer

They ought always to pray.

— St. Mark. 18:1

The impossibility of doing what we would, as we would, drives us to look for help. Everything difficult indicates something more than our theory of life yet embraces, checks some tendency to abandon the narrow path, leaving open only the way ahead. There is a reality of being in which all things are easy and plain—oneness, that is, with the Lord of Life, and to the point of this prayer every difficulty directs us. But remember: if prayer be anything at all, it is a thing to be done; what matter whether you agree with me or not, if you do not pray? 

In the Parable of the Unrighteous Judge, we can take comfort that the Lord recognizes difficulty in the matter of prayer—sees that we need encouragement to go on praying, that it looks as if we were not heard, that it is no wonder we should be ready to faint and leave off. The widow has to go often to the judge who can help her, gaining her end only at long last. The Lord recognizes how things must look to those whom he would have go on praying. Here as elsewhere, he teaches us that we must not go by the look of things, but by the reality behind the look. A truth, a necessity of God’s own willed nature, is enough to set up against a whole army of appearances. It looks as if he did not hear you: never mind, he does. The unrighteous judge cared nothing for the woman; those who cry to God are his own chosen. He has made them to cry: they do cry: will he not hear them? For God and those who seek his help are closer than two hands clasped hard in love.