Sister, I just had a conversation with my teenage sons about intercessory prayer. Basically, they are saying, "Why bother? God's will is going to be done for them anyway. You can pray for His will to be done, but then again it will be done, anyway." I say that Jesus wanted us to pray, so we should do it. They point out that Jesus never said we should pray for Sam's Uncle Frank to find a new job. I think they're being kind of heartless and should have more empathy, but they don't see it that way. Anyway, it helps to know people are praying for you. Recently, my daughter was hospitalized, and we got a "spiritual bouquet" from a son's classmates listing all the prayers and Masses everyone prayed. I was very grateful. Of, course, was this just an empty gesture, seeing as God was going to heal her anyway? I just can't believe that, but don't know how to explain it.
I applaud your children in one way. At least they have realized that God is not a vending machine, where a prayer goes in and they get an iced cold Nehi or a pony.
Short of that, the poor things have missed the point of prayer entirely. I would like to say, "Don't be too hard on them, they are young." I will say that, while I box their ears.
I will have a talk with them.
Dear Bob and Jason (names changed because I have no idea what your real names might be but since your mother is a good Catholic woman maybe they are)
Dear Alphonsus and Matthew, God is sad because you guys are not on speaking terms.
He is always there for you. He wants you to do His Will. He will do anything in the world for you as long as it doesn't hurt you and it is in keeping with His Will. How are you ever going to fathom what that could possibly be if you never talk with Him? Talking to God takes practice. Not because God is difficult to speak with, but because we have such difficulty hearing Him.
As Stevie Wonder says: "Where is my God? That's what my friends ask me. And I say it's taken Him so long, 'cause we've got so far to come." (-from "Heaven is 10 Zillion Light Years Away").
Stevie Wonder gets it. You can get it on I-Tunes for 99 cents.
Prayer is not about God coming over to you, Alphonsus and Matthew. It's about you coming over to God. It's about you talking with God about Uncle Frank's need for a job and your compassion for Uncle Frank's situation and your understanding of God's Will and what you're willing to learn from God and hear from God about that situation. He can't give you blessings and grace and strength if you won't even talk with Him.
Jesus prayed constantly. He prayed for guidance and direction. He prayed in thanksgiving, He prayed for his disciples and sinners. He prayed for the poor (like Uncle Frank is about to be).
And listen to this and listen good: He prayed when He healed the sick. Now try to bend your mind around this: Jesus, who was God, prayed to God when He healed the sick.
So, you think you know better than Jesus?
That attitude always reminds me of terrible movie versions of Classic literature. I saw a version of "Huck Finn" where Huck Finn just floated around on a raft with Jim while they had escapades. What fun! No mention of Huck Finn's moral dilemma. You might recall that in the book, Huck thinks himself very evil because he is breaking the law by not turning in Jim, who is a run away slave. He decides that if he is going to Hell for his sin, than so be it. He makes a courageous choice to do what he knows in his heart is right, when everyone else in his world tells him he is wrong. But these people who made this film knew better than Mark Twain, one of America's greatest authors, one of the world's greatest writers. I think it was a musical.
Don't make your life into a bad movie version of what it could be.
Sister Mary Martha
I hope this is helpful. In the old days we would have had them kneel on dried peas.