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Today’s passage from Matthew’s Gospel offers us advice on prayer direct from Jesus. On Tuesday, Matthew gave us the story of Jesus teaching his disciples the Lord’s Prayer. Today’s Gospel could be an explanation of the words: 
“Give us this day our daily bread.” 

In the example Jesus gives, he asks, “would you give your child a stone when he asked for bread”. 

Jesus encourages us today to ask, search and knock on God’s door: 

“Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened to you.”  

Jesus invites us to pray and pray often. But Jesus is teaching us more than just the importance of prayer. He asks: 

“Is there anyone among you who would hand his son a stone when he asked for bread? Or would hand him a snake when he asked for a fish?” 

Then he says: 

“If you, then, who are evil, know how to give your children what is good, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask!” 

What Jesus is emphasising is not about the person who prays – the one asks, searches and knocks – but about the Father in heaven. Jesus is reminding us of the endless goodness and generosity of God. 

Today’s Gospel passage is speaking of the generosity of the giver, not the asking, searching and knocking of the one who prays.  

Of course, Jesus is teaching us that we should pray and pray often. But the power of prayer is not based on how we pray or how much we pray. The power of prayer comes entirely from God’s goodness. 

Jesus says: 

“how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask.” 

As Christians, our idea of prayer is always hopeful. Our hope, however, is not based on the quality or quantity of our prayer. No! It rests entirely on the limitless generosity of God who gives “much more” to those who ask. 

In his message for Lent 2015, Pope Francis spoke of how God looks at us: 

“God is not aloof from us. Each one of us has a place in his heart. He knows us by name, he cares for us and he seeks us out whenever we turn away from him. He is interested in each of us; his love does not allow him to be indifferent to what happens to us.” (Message for Lent 2015) 

“God is interested in us” … do we think about that sometimes? 

In Lent, as we saw yesterday, we try to step out of the rat race for a while and make room for God’s voice to be heard. We turn to our Father in heaven – asking, searching and knocking – with confidence because we know “how much more our Father in heaven will give”. God’s love, mercy, generosity and forgiveness always offers us much more – it never runs out. 

Today we might make Pope Francis’ words our own: 

“God is not aloof from me. I have a place in God’s heart. He knows me by name, he cares for me and he seeks me out whenever I turn away from him. God is interested in me; his love does not allow him to be indifferent to what happens to me.” 

A phrase to take with us throughout today: 

“God is interested in me!”