Rather, prayer "helps us to keep faith in God and to entrust ourselves to him even when we don't understand his will," Francis said, and pointed to Jesus as a prime example.
He referred to the passage in St. Paul's letter to the Hebrews in which the apostle notes how during Jesus' earthly life, "he offered prayer and supplication, with loud cries and tears, to God who could save him from death and, because of his full abandonment to (the Father), was heard."
St. Paul didn't make a mistake on this point, the Pope said, noting that God really did save Jesus from death by giving him full victory over it, "but the path taken to get to it was through death itself!"
The same goes for Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane, when Jesus, "assaulted by looming anguish," prays to his Father to deliver him from the "chalice" of his Passion. However, even though Jesus asks for delivery, his prayer "is pervaded by confidence in the Father and he entrusts himself to his (Father's) will without reserve."
"The object of prayer passes into second place; what is most important above all is his relationship with the Father," Francis said, and explained that what prayer does is transform one's desire and "models it according to the will of God, whatever it is, so that whoever prays aspires first of all to union with Him."
Pope Francis concluded his address by pointing to Jesus' question at the end of the parable: "But the Son of Man, when he comes, will he find faith on earth?"
With this question "we are all put on guard," he said, and stressed that we must never cease praying, even if it doesn't always "pay out" the way we want.
"It's prayer that preserves faith; without it faith falters!" he said, and prayed for the Lord to grant all "a faith which becomes an unceasing prayer, perseverant, like that of the widow in the parable, a faith nourished by the desire for his coming."
After concluding his address, the Pope offered a special appeal to protect children in honor of International Missing Children's Day, which was established by U.S. President Ronald Regan in 1983, four years after 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared in New York City. Since then it has been observed internationally every year on May 25.
"It is a duty of everyone to protect children, especially those exposed to elevated risk of exploitation, trafficking and deviant conduct," Francis said, and voiced his hope that both civil and religious authorities "might stir consciences and raise awareness, in order to avoid indifference."
He also offered prayers for the more than 160 people killed Monday in coordinated attacks on the cities of Jableh and Tartus in Syria.
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"I exhort everyone to pray to the merciful Father, to pray to the Madonna, that God might give eternal rest to the victims, and consolation to their families…and might convert the hearts of those who sow death and destruction," the Pope said, and led pilgrims in praying a Hail Mary.