Hello to all, This week our readings are talking about prayer. Our first reading from Genesis is like an introduction to the story most of us are familiar with, that of Sodom and Gomorrah. In the section they have chosen for our listening pleasure we hear Abraham negotiate with the Angel of the Lord (which, in the bible, is always a metaphor for an encounter with the living God). He has a selfish motive in these negotiations. He is trying to save his brother-in-law Lot. He gets permission to go and get him and his family after the negotiations are complete. This story is a beautiful picture of prayer and it seems to go quite naturally with the Gospel in which the disciples ask Jesus how to pray. Jesus teaches them the Our Father and encourages them to persevere in their prayer even when it seems that their prayers are not being heard. I think that these two passages demonstrate the necessity of prayer in our lives and the purpose of praying often. Prayer is, as in our first reading, a conversation, sometimes even a negotiation. This conversation/negotiation cannot be one-sided. We must be willing to listen to the response from God. Sometimes that response is a flat out “NO”. In most cases our conversation is not answered as quickly as it seems to have been answered in our first reading. We have to wait, watch and listen for the answer. Abraham did not always have his prayer answered as quickly as it appears in today’s passage. Remember that he and Sarah had to wait for many years before their son Isaac was born. Prayer is important for us because it opens our heart to the living and loving God. The routines of our lives become alive with the blessings of God when our hearts are opened in that way. It does not remove sadness or grief from our experience of life, but it will give those moments a new meaning and it will give us a new found strength to bear those pains and sufferings. So, let us take some time this week to pray, converse, negotiate and listen to our God who loves us.