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Why doesn't God Answer my prayer? Header image

 

Question: I pray and pray, but I feel as  if God is not listening. We always had a good,  peaceful family life, but these last years have  been tough.  We don’t seem to be getting along and our finances have taken a turn for the  worse.

I am so anxious about this situation that,  not having anyone to turn to, I turned to God.

But God seems to remain deaf to me.  Why is  that?  In addition, what do I say to certain people, agnostics and atheists, who laugh at prayer,  saying it is nonsensical and only a figment of the  imagination with no real value?

 

Nun kneeling on stairs praying the rosary with arms outstretched

Answer: God is faithful to His promises, and God promised to answer our prayers. “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9–10).

If God promises to answer our prayers, He will do so infallibly. But in prayer there are two sides: he who asks and He Who gives.

Our part is to ask.

How must we ask?

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, a Doctor of the Church, teaches in his book Prayer, the Great Means of Salvation that prayer must be persevering and humble.

 

 

Prayer Must be Persevering

Our Lord Himself showed us how much He loves the prayer of one who perseveres when He related the parable of a man knocking at his friend’s door in the middle of the night asking for bread.

The owner of the house is in bed and does not wish to be bothered, but the one at the door is so insistent that the owner finally relents. Our Lord affirms: “I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him whatever he needs” (Luke 11:8).

 

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Prayer Must be Humble

Prayer must also be humble. We cannot look at prayer as writing a check based on our good credit to buy a favor from God. We must approach prayer knowing that, as sinners, we really have no credit with God and that we are totally reliant on His infinite goodness.

This same infinitude and this same goodness will grant us only what is good for us. One thing we must have in mind is that when we ask for a certain favor, we may have only that very favor and that very moment in mind. The same God Who promises to answer our prayer did not establish a time frame in which to answer those same prayers.

That is because God, our loving Father, sees past, present, and future all at once while we see only the present. Above all, He sees eternity and wants only that which will help us reach the right eternity, that is, heaven.

We may be sure, then, that He will hear us. If He chooses to make us wait, it is because He may be accomplishing “long term” repair and maintenance that we are not even aware we need. He may even be using the time of trial to polish, perfect, and “force” us to veer away from a defective road, which would eventually drop us into an abyss, onto a straight road that leads us up the mountain. He may also be trying our faith so that He can grant us a greater gift.

Brown rosary

How many times we hear people who have been struck by terrible sufferings saying: “At first, I was so angry at God. But now, I thank Him for it. It has made me grow, and given me a different perspective on life. I have found God and the true source of all peace. This suffering has brought us all closer together.”

On the other hand, something that may look like a benefit to us now may be a hazard down the road. In His omniscient goodness, God will not grant exactly what we ask but will give us something even better.

So many times we hear people saying: “Oh, I used to ask God for this and that and the other, but He never gave it to me. Now, ten years later, how glad I am that He didn’t!”

One thing is certain: God will not fail to answer a humble and perseverance prayer. Whether He chooses to grant what we ask immediately or make us wait, we must trust that He, regardless of appearances, is doing us good. What we think is good and what He thinks is good may be two different things: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor your ways My ways” (Isa. 55:8), but here is where we must abandon ourselves to His beneficent will. Our part is to be patient, calm and, above all, faithful, because this is the time for testing and later will come the time for full enjoyment.

 

Answering Atheists and Agnostics

As for atheists and agnostics, their skepticism proceeds from the fact that they, respectively, deny God’s existence or deny men’s capacity to know God.

In this case, we can only express our regret over their ignorance of this Supreme Being, our omnipotent Creator and loving Savior.

We may direct them to a few sources that may help in their search for the truth of His existence.  Atheism and agnosticism can only be sustained in ignorance or ill will because the evidence of God’s existence is overwhelming.

Moreover, God will not hide Himself from those who seek Him sincerely and unconditionally.

Another consideration pertaining to non-believers is this: If God were to grant us absolutely everything we ask at a moment’s notice, such people might start believing purely out of self-interest.

They would look at God as a wand-wielding wizard.  And God Our Lord is infinitely more than that.  He wants us to know, love, and serve Him for Himself so that He can treat us as children and heirs and grant us unending happiness in Heaven.

 

"My impression is that the Rosary is of the greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady of Fatima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history.  My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God."   Sister Lucia, one of the seers of Fatima

 


 

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Quote of the day

DAILY QUOTE for January 26, 2020

External devotions are useless if we do not cleanse our soul...

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January 26

 

External devotions are useless
if we do not cleanse our souls from sin.

St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori


My Mother, I will stand with you on OCTOBER 10, 2020

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

Sts. Timothy and Titus

Timothy's grandmother, Lois, was the first to become Christi...

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Sts. Timothy and Titus

Timothy and Titus were two of St. Paul’s favorite and most trusted disciples.

Timothy had a Greek father and a Jewish mother named Eunice. His grandmother, Lois, was the first to become Christian in the family. Timothy was a convert of St. Paul around the year 47 and later joined his apostolic work. He is the recipient of St. Paul’s Epistles to Timothy in the Gospel. He was with the great Apostle when the church of Corinth was founded and worked with him for fifteen years.

St. Paul sent Timothy on difficult missions, often to face disturbances at churches he had just established, and was installed by Paul as his representative to the church of Ephesus.

Timothy was relatively young for the work he was doing as we read in Tim. 4:12, “Let no one have contempt for your youth,” and that he suffered with his health when we read in Tim. 5:23 “Stop drinking only water, but have a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.”

Timothy was with St. Paul in Rome during his house arrest, and at some point was in prison himself. Around the age of eighty he tried to halt a pagan procession and was beaten and stoned to death.

Titus was Greek and a convert from paganism; he is mentioned in several of the Pauline epistles. He is seen as a peacemaker, administrator and great friend of the Apostle Paul. When St. Paul was having trouble with the community at Corinth, Titus was the bearer of his severe letter and with tact, firmness and charity succeeded in smoothing things out, which gave St. Paul great joy.

St. Paul charged Titus with the administration of the Christian community in the Isle of Crete and instructed him to organize the faithful, correct abuses and appoint presbyter-bishops. There is no record of his death.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a con...

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Our Lady and the Three Dresses

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

One day, their priest-confessor advised them that, as a preparation for the feast of the purification of Mary, they should recite the whole Rosary every day for forty days. The three nuns obediently complied.

On the night before that holy feast day, the Heavenly Mother appeared to the three nuns as they gathered in the choir. To the first of these three sisters she handed a rich garment, embroidered with gold. Holy Mary thanked her and blessed her.

She then handed to the second nun a much simpler garment, and also thanked her. Noticing the difference in the two garments, the second sister asked, "Oh Lady, why have you brought my sister a richer garment?" Mary Most Holy lovingly replied, "Because she has clothed me more richly with her prayers than you have done."

Mary then approached the third nun with a canvas garment. Being an observant young lady, this sister at once asked pardon for the half-hearted way in which she had prayed her rosaries.

A full year had passed when all three fervently prepared for the same feast, each saying her Rosary with great devotion. On the evening preceding the festival, Mary appeared to them in glory, and said to them: "Be prepared, for tomorrow you shall come to paradise."

The following morning dawned, full of promise. Each nun wondered if this would be her last day in this vale of tears. When evening came, would they retire to their modest cells once more, or did Holy Mary have something else in store for them?

The sisters related to their confessor what had occurred, and received communion in the morning. At the hour of compline (evening prayers) they saw again the most holy Virgin, who came to take them with her. Amid the songs of angels, one after the other sweetly expired.

From the Glories of Mary, by St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori.

Many centuries ago, three young nuns lived together in a convent. Day after day, they took their meals together, they went to chapel together, and they prayed and sang together.

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