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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 April 6, 2020

True charity consists in putting up with all one’s neighbo...

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April 6

 

True charity consists in
putting up with all one’s neighbor’s faults,
never being surprised by his weakness, and
being inspired by the least of his virtues.

St. Thérèse of Lisieux


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

Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. William of Eskilsoë

The prospect of hardships and challenges in the service of O...

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St. William of Eskilsoë

William was born into an illustrious French family and raised in the Benedictine Abbey of Saint-Germain-des-Prés under the tutelage of his uncle, Abbot Hugh.  The regularity of his conduct and virtuous life earned him the admiration of the community.

After being ordained a sub-deacon, he was appointed a canon of the Church of Sainte-Geneviève-du-Mont in Paris where the sanctity of his life greatly annoyed his worldly and lax fellow-canons. They mocked him for his more disciplined life and so persecuted him that William was forced to resign his canonry. However, in 1148, during a visit to Paris by Blessed Pope Eugene III, the latter observed the canonical laxity that reigned at Sainte-Geneviève-du-Mont and replaced the canons with more observant men thus vindicating William’s reputation. Under the direction of the famous Abbot Suger a new canonry with a stricter set of rules was established. William rejoined the community and, in a short time, became sub-prior.

William tempered his zeal for regular discipline with so much sweetness and humility that he led all to practice the rule with joy. The fame of his wisdom and sanctity even reached the ears of Absalon, the Bishop of Roskilde in Denmark, who sent his provost, the historian Saxo the Grammarian, to ask William to come to Denmark to help with the much-needed reforms there.

The prospect of hardships and challenges in the service of Our Lord inspired William to accept the invitation, and he cheerfully traveled to Denmark. There, he was appointed Abbot of Eskilsoë and, although he faced many difficulties both from powerful people and from within himself, he triumphed through prayer and patience. His apostolic zeal and perseverance bore much fruit for the Catholic Faith in Denmark during the thirty years he lived among the Danes. He also founded the Abbey of St. Thomas in Aebelhold (Ebelholt) in Zeeland and traveled to Rome to intercede with the Pope on behalf of the king’s sister, Ingelburga, who had been repudiated by her royal husband, King Philip Augustus of France.

William died in Denmark on April 6, 1203 and was canonized in 1224 by Pope Honorius III.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort...

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And He Stole Heaven

He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort, the infamous highwayman.
 
On his left hung another man, covered in the matted blood of his wounds. Yet, with the exception of a few intermittent words, there was no sound from him.

As time passed, the thief became more and more engrossed in the silent crucified beside him, and less and less in his own plight.St Dismas Picture

Indeed life is ironic, mused Dismas, this man who had lived in the open, and was acclaimed as a healer and even as a king, now hung beside him who had spent his life lurking and hiding.

And now they were lifted up, both on a high parallel. He could see the roof tops of the city, he could see the highways he had stalked, and he could see the way they had walked. Now he looked down on those gathered around this place of execution, the Roman soldiers, the Pharisees, the curious, the friends of the man beside him…and a young man supporting a lady directly beneath them...

And then he knew her; that upturned face, that maidenly majesty now wracked by sorrow, her tear-filled eyes fastened on the man on his left–Yes, he knew that face.

As the wheels of time rolled back in his mind,  his heart gave a jolt as he remembered that blessed day in the desert, decades ago, when a young family making its way to Egypt, sought refuge for the night in his family’s hovel. The man was strong and kind, the woman was the fairest his child’s eyes had seen, and she carried a golden haired babe, as if nothing in the universe was more precious.

He remembered the lady’s gaze on him, her beautiful eyes full of concern for the leprous sores on his young body. Then she and his mother talked. And next, he was being bathed in the same water the lady had just washed her infant son.

And then the sores were gone.  His mother wept for joy, and kissed the lady’s hands, and the baby’s feet. And even his robber-father was moved, and offered the strong man and his family the best in the house.

Now, in one revealing flash, he knew the identity of the wounded man on his left.  He looked again at the lady, and her eyes, those same sweet eyes of old, were on him once more.  
He felt his heart quiver, as the power of gratitude filled his being and softened his criminal soul.  And then came tears, rivers of tears.  When he could speak, he turned to the left,

“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”

And the Lord turned his face to him, His divine eyes on him, and he heard the most beautiful voice he had ever heard, a voice at once full of pain and full of strength, full of sweetness and full of majesty, a judge’s voice, and a father’s voice,

“Amen, amen I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise.”

 

By Andrea F. Phillips
Based on: A Legend of St. Dismas and Other Poems,
Copyright by P. J. Kenedy and Sons. 1927, p. 18.

 

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He hung on a cross that day, writhing in pain and discomfort, the infamous highwayman.

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