What is the most effective way to pray?
One Gospel passage offers valuable guidance through the story of a foreign woman who, though outside the tradition of Israel, seeks Jesus out of despair for her suffering daughter. She pleads, “‘Have mercy on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.’ But Jesus did not respond to her.”
The mention of Jesus’ silence may appear disheartening, but we should not be surprised, for many of us have experienced moments of perceived distance and indifference from God. It is during these very moments that we question the efficacy of our prayers or even the value of prayer itself.
This foreign woman, however, imparts a profound lesson to us all. Instead of giving up and leaving, she chooses to remain steadfast. In the face of all contrary evidence, she persists in her prayers, saying, “‘Lord, help me.’ In response, Jesus says, ‘It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.’ She replies, ‘Yes, Lord, but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.’ Then Jesus commends her faith, saying, ‘Woman, you have great faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed from that very moment.”
Prayer necessitates perseverance. We must continue in prayer even when it appears fruitless. Despite any evidence to the contrary, we should pray with unwavering hope.