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Life is tough. Nuns are tougher.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Why Pray

Here's the problem I've had with prayer lately: If God loves me and is going to do what's best for me, regardless--which I don't doubt--then who am I to try to direct God's actions or tell Him what to do? Why pray, "Please don't let my mother die of cancer" (or whatever) because God's going to do what's God's going to do in something like that, whether I ask Him or not. And even praying something like, "Help my mother in her journey through this illness"...well, God's going to do that without my asking, if only my mother will see the help is available and take God up on it. Meditation, prayers of praise...that's different. But what we so often call prayer, where we're asking something of God, even very good things, seem almost disrespectful, like we're questioning His divine will and plan.

Yeah, that's a problem a lot of people have with prayer.  And to them I would say, "Oh, it's all about you, is it? He's going to do what ever is good for you, so let Him get on with it without talking to Him about anything.  Amen."

What about God? We just leave Him alone, like that lucky ole sun, to roll around Heaven all day? We don't have to talk with Him to open ourselves to His blessings and graces and the beautiful world and life around us, because, hey, He's got everything covered?

God is not a vending machine for our requests for help. If the world of God worked that way, why would we have to do anything? Why didn't He just make us so we don't have to eat. that way, we wouldn't have to plow fields or worry about eating too many Doritos? 

God made a world in which we must participate, and one of the ways we participate is by communicating with God and the way we do that is prayer.

We can turn this question upside down, too. If God is all powerful and can do anything, why pray? I ask you, if God was NOT all powerful, why pray? If He wasn't all wise, it would be dangerous to pray.But since God is all wise and powerful, we can relax and talk with Him.

That's how we participate in God's plan, which is His plan. We don't pray to inform God. We pray to invite God.

Fred is doing very well, thank you all very much and thank God. On the mend. How did that happen? The power we have through God. Great stuff.


Kristin said...

I've been struggling with this exact issue lately. In the midst of my struggle, our parish priest did an entire homily on prayer. The nugget I took away was this: The purpose of prayer is not to change God's mind. The purpose of prayer is to change YOU."

Marion Teague said...

Perhaps an even simpler answer to the question "Why do we ask God for things?" is "Because Jesus told us to".

Anonymous said...

Hi Sister,
I'm writing on behalf of my 13 year old daughter who will be receiving the sacrament of Confirmation next fall. At this point in her preparation she is tasked with choosing a patron saint. We've discussed it a bit and have (half) jokingly decided that she would like a somewhat obscure saint - someone who isn't so popular that he or she might be
"overworked" with prayer requests and miracles ;) However, she will have to write a report on her chosen saint in the upcoming months, and we've noticed that we really don't know very much about some saints. Can you make some recommendations? My daughter will be starting high school next year at an all-girls catholic school. She enjoys watersports, shooting sporting clays, singing and acting. Her favorite subjects in school are science and social studies - and she loves bugs!

E said...

Oh, great. Now I'm craving Nacho Cheese Doritos.