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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 August 3, 2021

Jesus who cannot suffer long to keep you in affliction will...

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August 3

 

Jesus who cannot suffer long to keep you in affliction
will come to relieve and comfort you
by infusing fresh courage into your soul.

St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina


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Saint of the day

SAINT OF THE DAY

St. Waltheof of Melrose

He strove so greatly for perfection that his confessors ofte...

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St. Waltheof of Melrose

Waltheof was born of English nobility. The son of Simon, the Earl of Huntingdon, and Maud, the grand-niece of William the Conqueror, he was also the grandson of Saint Waldef of Northumbria. As a child, Waltheof felt drawn to churches and the religious life. Following his father's death, he, and his mother and brother moved to Scotland where Maud married King David I. As part of the royal court, he was educated and became a spiritual student of St. Aelred.

Following his long-held inclination to contemplation and desiring to dedicate himself entirely to God, Waltheof left Scotland and traveled to Yorkshire to join the Augustinian Canons at the monastery at Nostell. He was soon chosen as prior, and led the monks in a more austere rule. Some time later, Waltheof left Nostell for the more austere life of the Cistercian monks.
Four years after receiving the Cistercian habit, he was nominated as abbot of Melrose, a newly established monastery. Then, in 1154, he was chosen as the new Archbishop of St. Andrews, but in his humility, he begged St. Aelred to oppose the election and not oblige him to accept.

Waltheof died in 1160 of old age. It has been said that he strove so greatly for perfection, that his confessors often found him irksome.

Weekly Story

WEEKLY STORY

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by h...

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The Virgin Mary Rewards a Bandit

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways. Bandits plagued travelers and made their living by depriving others of their goods and often their very lives.

A young woman in the Papal States, who was very devout towards Mary, met in a certain place a chief of the bandits. Fearing some outrage, she implored him, for love of the most holy Virgin, not to molest her.

"Do not fear," he answered, "for you have prayed me in the name of the mother of God; and I only ask you to recommend me to her." Moved by the woman’s mention of the Blessed Virgin, the bandit accompanied her himself along the road to a place of safety.

The following night, Mary appeared in a dream to the bandit. She thanked him for the act of kindness he had performed for love of her. Mary went on to say that she would remember it and would one day reward him.

The robber, at length, was arrested, and condemned to death. But behold, the night previous to his execution, the blessed Virgin visited him again in a dream, and first asked him: "Do you know who I am?"

He answered, "It seems to me I have seen you before."

"I am the Virgin Mary," she continued, "and I have come to reward you for what you have done for me. You will die tomorrow, but you will die with so much contrition that you will come at once to paradise."

The convict awoke, and felt such contrition for his sins that he began to weep bitterly, all the while giving thanks aloud to our Blessed Lady. He asked immediately for a priest, to whom he made his confession with many tears, relating the vision he had seen. Finally, he asked the priest to make public this grace that had been bestowed on him by Mary.

He went joyfully to his execution, after which, as it is related, his countenance was so peaceful and so happy that all who saw him believed that the promise of the heavenly mother had been fulfilled.

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

In the days of yore, when travel must be had on foot or by horse, many were the dangers to be found along the roadways.