Jesus told his disciples a parable about their need to pray always and not to lose heart. He said, "In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor had respect for people. In that city there was a widow who kept coming to him and saying, `Grant me justice against my opponent.' For a while he refused; but later he said to himself, `Though I have no fear of God and no respect for anyone, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will grant her justice, so that she may not wear me out by continually coming.'" And the Lord said, "Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God grant justice to his chosen ones who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long in helping them? I tell you, he will quickly grant justice to them. And yet, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
Jesus tells us this story about a persistent woman and an unjust judge. I believe he is telling us to never give up. He is saying that we are heard and God's justice will be ours. We had a rousing bible study discussion about justice and divine intervention as a response to our prayers. This whole concept of justice can get very complicated. Some people see justice as the other guy getting his comeuppance. We all know what that means even though it may not be a real word.
While I am writing this I am thinking of Judge Judy. When she holds court, she has two people who come before her who are in conflict. They each want justice. One of these two people will walk away feeling that justice is served. The other one, probably not. We all look at what is right and what is wrong through our own lens.
And yet, Jesus tells us to persist, to never give up. To “cry to Him day and night” and he will quickly grant justice. I will be the last to tell you that I understand God's ways. Only God knows God's ways.
I do however know a little something about constant prayer. Jesus talks about it as does St. Paul. I practice mantric meditation on a regular basis. Mantric meditation is simply focusing on a spiritual word or sound when meditating. It has been a guiding force in my life. I first learned meditation through yoga but I have come to know that there is little difference between eastern meditation and Christian meditation. When I was a student of yoga in India, I was encouraged to repeat my mantra throughout the day. I do find myself repeating that mantra but I must confess it is a work in progress for me. There is a book called “The Way of a Pilgrim” that introduces constant prayer and it basically tells the story of a Russian monk who inwardly recites the phrase, “Lord, Jesus Christ have mercy on me.” He recites it from the moment he awakes to when he goes to sleep. It becomes so integrated in his life that he does it without thinking.
This was his choice of a prayer. There are many others to choose from. One commonly used is: Maranatha. It is an Aramaic word meaning, come Lord. I encourage you to follow Jesus's advice and practice constant prayer. It is best to choose a word or phrase that is a good fit for you. It may be as simple as: My Lord My God. It is really up to you. The only qualifier is that it be spiritually meaningful to you. When you say your prayer it is also a good idea that it be a part of rhythmic breathing. For instance if you use the Jesus prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ” could be thought when you inhale and “have mercy on me” when you exhale. If you use “My Lord my God”, “My Lord” would be said inwardly when you inhale and “My God” on exhaling.
Constant prayer can be transformative in your spiritual life and it will impact everything you do. It will give your life a spiritual focus beyond what you have now.