Cosmic vending machine

I started to reply to another thread but felt it might derail it which is not my intention.
I see threads and hear people talk about prayer as if they say the right combination in the right order their wish will be granted. An example would be if you don’t say a certain novena right it won’t work.
This attitude toward prayer makes me uncomfortable and I don’t think it’s healthy. Not that novenas or things like that are unhealthy but having specific intentions. And the all or nothing attitude with them this is a process that always needs to grow and evolve.
Isn’t it better to pray for God’s will in a situation? Or if it is a person struggling pray for them to find comfort in God’s will and grow closer. For knowledge or strength of His will.
I say this becuase I worry some people might get so discouraged if things don’t work their way.
I was reading a thread by someone who hated their job and prayed they find a new on which they have not…wouldn’t it be better to pray and ask God His will perhaps there is a reason he is at this job, strenghth to get through their job and be the best employee they can be no matter what, perhaps to grow in virtue. At the end of the day God doesn’t need my advice or input. I suppose I am just rambling.

While I can understand the principle behind some of the disciplines, I agree with you that there must be the right attitude and submission to God’s will first.

Disciplines come in afterwards as a “sacrifice” in the same way that fasting or mortification or other disciplines would be considered a sacrifice. In this sense, if one fails to fulfill a novena, then they have failed in their promise - their sacrifice.
Of course there can always be various “mitigating factors” involved.
The important thing is to not get a Legalistic attitude about these things.


I have a hard time understanding fasting when praying becuase it feels like I am trying to convince God to do my will:).
You said everything much better than I can.

Quite the opposite. We fast and pray to relinquish our own wills and comply with God’s. There might be an encounter every now and then where your own will and God’s match up (in such case it may feel like you have persuaded him to do something); I identify this type of thinking very much with St. John of the Cross and St. Ignatius Loyola. Fascinating topics really. It is important to remember that it is by grace that we are able to submit. By that, your sufferings and prayers that you offer up are in fact God working in you. If you haven’t, I recommend these readings:

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