Just do it, and you’ll get.
Recall from history when representatives of the people went to the monarch to present their petitions to him. Let us remember, for example, the Slovak delegation of 1861, which handed over to the monarch in Vienna the Memorandum of the Slovak Nation and the proposal of the Privilege for the realization of the equality of the Slovak nation in Hungary, or the petition march in Petrograd in 1905. The sovereigns did not accept the demands of both these actions.
We must reckon with this, which can happen when we ask someone for something, and they refuse. It is possible with people.
But it is not possible for God not to grant our requests. Jesus says: “Ask, and you shall receive! Seek and ye shall find! Knock and it will be opened to you!” (Luke 11:9).
From this, we see that Jesus also recommends petitionary prayer to God to fulfill our requests. Some of you might object at this point: I have prayed for my son’s healing and have not been answered. My son died.
What to judge about that? So what is the point of the petitionary prayer that Jesus recommends?
To answer this question, we first need to realize: Who God is and what God is like.
The misconception of God is this: God observes people, what they do, and if they do his will, then he is suitable to them, but if they do not do his commands, then he speaks: Wait! I will remember this! You will still need me! But then I will not give you anything if you do this. As ye do unto me, so will I do unto you. God is not like this, nor can he be! He is not vengeful. He does not tremble with terror whether any man will obey Him or not.
Jesus did not present God to us this way, but He announced that God is our benevolent Father. He lives in infinite bliss and wants to let people experience as much of His bliss as possible. God is close to us, knows our desires, and grants many of them even before we ask for them or deserve them.
But even though He gives us many gifts without prayer, He still wants to provide us with some skills if we ask for them properly.
God gives us all kinds of benefits. God does not revel in our asking Him to have mercy on us. He is a great lover of truth, and He wants us to realize the great truth that we are nothing of ourselves because we have nothing of our own. When He fulfills our desires, He wants to arm us with one more great gift on that occasion. For it is then that we realize the truth about ourselves. We acquire that precious virtue of modesty and the integrity of great trust in God. Let us not think that God is killing us and throwing us down by this.
People with excellent education would be able to tell us how little man means in the universe and how limited his abilities are. The progress of science is silencing the voices that speak of man as an almost omnipotent giant. More than one college graduate admits that what he learned in college was primarily how little knowledge he had.
That is why God asks for petitionary prayer, that in the process, we may be perfected in the love and truth of our dependence on God.
God will grant our every petitionary prayer. We do not doubt that He will present even the petition of such a person who has long forgotten Him and needs His help suddenly. Even if He does not immediately give him precisely what he asks for, He will provide him with an even better gift. A gift which he requires more, and that is the gift of the virtue of religion.
The father of the sick son may not have remembered God for many years, and it was only prayer for his son’s recovery that brought him to God. He asked for his son’s health gift and was gifted with the greatest treasure of all – faith in God. Even though his son had died, his prayer was not in vain. Those who prayed for him became closer to God. They asked for and received even more than they asked for. They were blessed with God’s graces and the experience of God’s nearness.
Jesus Christ, Himself can be our model in petitionary prayer. He endured the most difficult trial. In his hour of extreme anguish, he prayed to God in the Garden of Gethsemane. He prayed so fervently that he was sweating blood: “Father if you are willing, take this cup from me.” (Lk 22:42).
He was not heard. We know that he eventually died in terrible pain on the cross. But his prayer was meaningful. After these words of worship, an angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And strengthened, he remained faithful to the Father until his last breath.
The French writer Albert Camus describes a plague epidemic in a novel.
People thought the plague was a punishment for their sins. But one day, an innocent boy they loved fell ill, especially a believing priest and an unbelieving doctor.
The doctor devoted all his care to the boy, the parish priest prayed together with his faithful as fervently as possible, and God’s miracle did not occur. The boy dies.
The unbelieving doctor becomes even more bitter after the boy’s death and becomes convinced that such an unjust God cannot exist.
The priest did the opposite. He went to the pulpit and preached, “There is much suffering in the world, the meaning of which the human mind can hardly comprehend, and it will take a twofold attitude to suffer, either it will resist the senselessness of evil and reject God as unjust, or it will embrace God even though He sends suffering upon men. In God’s eyes, even suffering has redemptive value, for it brings human souls closer to God.”
And the priest chooses the latter. He humbly submits to the incomprehensible ways of God. He did not know why God decided to call the boy to Himself. He didn’t know if He had called to spare him some great disappointment or for another reason. He only knew that God had the power to join the sufferings of men to the redemptive sufferings of Christ.
And he praised God that many had encountered God and been enriched by his graces during his prayers for the boy’s healing.
Let us also be strengthened in the conviction that God is always with us and hears our every prayer. Let us not hesitate to present any request to God persistently, but with a condition: Not my will, but thine, O God, be done!
Let us not consider the possibility that God will not hear us. Even if it seems to us that God does not listen to us, does not care for us, let us know that in prayer, we have been blessed with even better graces than we asked for.
When we ask God for anything, let us remember to ask Him also to kindly grant us such desires as He may fill for our benefit and His greater glory.
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