Why do we need to pray and ask for things if God’s will happens anyway?
For one reason among others - God can make something rather contingent upon prayer…upon our asking…
This might not seem satisfying but:
God just loves to hear from us.
Think of your own loved ones…if something is weighing on their heart you want them to share it with you, even if you can’t do anything about it.
Catechism on Prayer
and more there…the whole section Three scborromeo.org/ccc/ccc_toc.htm
This is especially good:
2626 Blessing expresses the basic movement of Christian prayer: it is an encounter between God and man. In blessing, God’s gift and man’s acceptance of it are united in dialogue with each other. The prayer of blessing is man’s response to God’s gifts: because God blesses, the human heart can in return bless the One who is the source of every blessing.
OP, prayer is more than just asking God for things.
We pray to get to know, and become closer to God.
For thanks, worship, adoration, to help those in need, those dying, those in purgatory. To help Mother Mary, as She has asked. For Mercy , as Jesus has asked.
To the Trinity.
Where God’s will reigns, that is heaven.
We pray that His will be done here on earth.
In doing so, we ask that Jesus enter into our hearts.
Thereby purified we grow in the capacity to love.
Evermore Christ-like together we bring creation into the the eternal communion that is the Trinity.
…the only guarantee that man has when he is born is that he will meet with death at one point of his odyssey–should all children be put to death since death is the end to which this temporal existence is headed?
…when Jesus tells us that when we pray we must pray that “…if it’s God’s will…” He is placing a clause on “all that you ask.”
God’s Wisdom is greater than ours… however, God wants man to participate in His Salvific Plan… so He encourages man to pray… to maintain a special unity with Him. Through this mechanism God makes man an active participant with Creation; man is also allowed the opportunity to express his Faith in God.
…ever heard of two people who are so much in love that they do not need to express their love for one another?
…marriages are failing left to right because people (even Catholics) have been buying into holllowood’s theology of the self: do anything that makes “you” happy and do nothing that demands self-sacrifice!
St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body touches on the relationship of man with God… prayer is a deep Communion between creature and Creator where God allows man into the inner works of His Existence… but just as nothing impure can enter the New Jerusalem (Heaven) man’s prayer must be done according to God’s Will in order for man to be uplifted as Christ’s coheir.
[FONT=“Palatino Linotype”][size=]Merry Christmas!
Sometimes God wants to do something, but to do it because, as he foreknows, we will pray for it.
Why does he give the result we desire through our prayer? Because as several posters indicated, when we pray then, we can get closer to God.
Then two good things can happen, and not only one. God helps through prayer and the man praying gets closer to God.
Prayer is not really about asking God for things, although you can do that. Prayer is first and foremost developing a relationship with God. That’s really all prayer is…having a relationship with God. It’s just like developing a relationship with anyone else. The more you talk to them, the more you spend time with them, the more you experience things together, the deeper your relationship becomes.
You talk to your best friend (or significant other), and sometimes you are just happy to be with Them and not say anything at all. Being in their company is good enough. You can do that with God too, and that is prayer.
Sometimes you ask your friend to help you with something, but usually you don’t. You mostly just like eachother’s company, you joke, laugh, talk about your day, where your life is going, seek guidance and advice, and do all sorts of things together. Prayer is the same.
Sometimes we ask things of God. Sometimes he helps us, and sometimes he doesn’t…just like our friends…yet when we REALLY need him, he’s right there. Sometimes our friends know what we need better than we do.
When we meet new people and deepen our relationships with them, we can’t help but change somewhat. Usually we adopt some characteristics of theirs, or gain mutual interests. I bet you can think of examples in your own life. Sometimes personalities start to merge a little, especially if the relationship really deepens, like with a spouse or best friend. It’s the same with God: A relationship with God will change you and it will form you. I think we all can be a little more Christ-like.
The point of prayer isn’t much different than the point of developing and deepening any friendship. We all want and need relationships. Believe it or not, God Is no different. I spend time with my friends because I love spending time with them because I love them. I know my friends love spending time with me too (or else we wouldn’t have become such great friends!). God is the same. He’s also the best company to keep.
God gives us, as Pascal said, the “dignity of causality”.
He has given us as human persons the supreme gift of being actually able to CAUSE events --through our actions (like, say, planting a seed, and then being able to reap the benefits), or our prayers (like, say, asking for a healing, and then being able to reap the benefits).
If we didn’t plant the seed, we wouldn’t get the wheat.
If we didn’t say the prayer, we wouldn’t get the healing.
Each of the posters above said it superbly! I could not have said things any better.
One question for you, Str84ward: Have you ever prayed for something, did not get/receive it, and years later be glad you did not? Our Lord has our best interest at Heart.
Ask your fiancee to teach (talk with) you about Little Flower and her (St. Therese’s) methodology.
Mary appeared to St. Catherine of Laboure, Mary showed her a medal which she asked St. Catherine to distribute.
Her picture on the front of the medal shows her arms down and stretched out. There are rays of light comming from her hands. These rays are comming from each ring on her fingers. Each finger has 3 rings. Many rings are radiating light, but some are not. She said that those emanating light are graces that were asked for. Those that didn’t shine rays of light were graces lost because they were not asked for.
Wishing you and yours the season’s blessings.
What makes this such a difficult topic is God’s timeless nature.
“What does God know, when did he know it, and why didn’t he change it?” is a question we like to ask. We demand accountability from God for bad things that happen or good things that don’t happen.
But the problem is, God knows everything at all times. There is no “discovery” in God. There is no “did” or “didn’t”. Events don’t sequentially happen in God’s time, as he is outside time and sees it all in one divine present.
And so with God it comes down to relationship, not cause and effect. In prayer we enter a relationship with someone who sees it all, past present future.
Cause and effect are for human beings to experience, not God.
Taking a Thomast perspective here. St. Thomas Aquinas taught that nothing happens unless already willed by God. So how does prayer move an unmoved God who is pure act?? God has two wills an antecedent will (what God wills in isolation) such as freewill without any other consideration and a consequent will (after all things considered in light of the whole). I would say God wills eternally the consequent effect of our prayers before time and much, much before our prayers in time. When we refuse to pray due to our free will we do not reap the benefits of what has already been eternally decreed -the result of our prayers.
God will always do what He wants, but often He wants us to want with Him explicitly through asking Him.
After all, holiness is simply our will’s conformity with God’s will. Intercession is one expression of this.