Oh Lord, Won't You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz? Or what is the proper way to pray?


The quippy title is just a way to get attention… but my question about prayer is rather serious.

What is the proper way to pray? Generally, I ask God to send people peace when they are having a life situation that could easily send them into negativity.

I question praying for specific outcomes. It’s hard to imagine God changing his mind because we ask him to grant us something.

In that way, isn’t prayer more a matter of setting intentions than actually trying to influence God’s choices?

~Jai Yen


Thanks, now I’ll be thinking about that song all day.:smiley:


LOL! Yes, it’s catchy… and somehow managed to capture what it is I wanted to get at. :slight_smile:

~Jai Yen


i don’t know if this answers your question, but …

usually i just pray for a person, not anything specific, and let God decide how to best use that prayer.

my wife usually prays for something specific, such as her grandmother and mother to be healthy and happy.


I tend to agree with this, although… on occasion… I have asked for specific favors (“Lord, please don’t let it rain today”… etc. :blushing:).

But usually, my attitude is more that I hope to be granted the grace to accept God’s Will, even though it might not (and probably won’t) “conform” to my own will. I truly believe that whatever happens to us… must happen for the eternal good of our souls.

I know this is one of those “hard sayings”. And when things go terribly wrong, I do… like most of us… have trouble with it. But I truly believe that God loves us. And that’s enough for “moi”. :stuck_out_tongue:

God bless.


Really, as far as specific intentions go, it depends on the intention. For example, praying for it not to rain may be purely selfish(because I don’t like the rain) or another matter entirely(because rain again would cause immense flooding and ruin the homes and lives of many people). Obviously, asking God for a Mercedes Benz isn’t typically a good reason for prayer, but I could imagine instances where asking God for a car would be beneficial to more than just the person doing the asking.

We just have to remember that Christ is not only our Lord and King, He’s also our greatest Friend. I talk about all kinds of things with my friends- what I’ve been struggling with, my thoughts about other people, my future, the weather, anything. Just because Christ can CONTROL those things doesn’t mean we shouldn’t mention them.

In all, we CAN ask for whatever we want from Him, and use a properly formed conscience to determine whether it’s something we SHOULD be asking for or not. And always remember the decision isn’t up to us- even Jesus asked the Father not to die: “Father, if it be thy will, take this cup away from me. But not my will, but thine be done.”

It’s the last part of the phrase that we need to keep in mind- that God DOES know best, and one of the greatest things we can pray for is to know His will, so we can conform ourselves to it.

Just some food for thought.


If we read the Gospel, we will see several places Jesus asked people specifically what they want:

**Matthew 20:32 **
Jesus stopped and called them. “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
**Mark 10:36 **
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
**Mark 10:51 **
“What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”
**Luke 18:41 **
“What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied.

Jesus asked specifically what people want and answered the request accordingly.

God likes specific prayers; however, the bottom line is to seek God’s will, to like His will above our own. We can ask specifically, to receive it or not is up to God. I don’t see anything wrong to ask specifically, as long as we have the obedience to accept whatever God’s will is.

Just like a child may ask for permission to attend Johnny’s party, his parents can either grant the permission or deny it. But he has to ask specifically if he can attend Johnny’s party, not if he may attend someone’s party, or simply ask if he may go out.


Our Lord also MADE specific prayers - ‘Father, let this cup pass away from Me’ … ‘Simon … I have prayed for you so that your faith may not fail’ … ‘Father, forgive them, they know not what they do’.


yes… that last thing…

I pray for all kinds of things but at the end, i always try to remember to say “Your will be done”…

(gives me peace when i don’t get what i want :smiley: )


I heard a good talk on this once, which I will try to summarize.

Most everyone starts out with petitions for a Mercedes Benz, good weather for their outing, a healing, etc. They experience the fact that such petitions are often not granted. Many then start trying to be on the safe side with general requests („Lord, make him/her happy in this life and the next“) which are fine in themselves and are a step up in maturity from the „Mercedes Benz“ level. But this level of prayer is also meant to be outgrown, because it betrays pride (unwillingness to risk disappointment or refusal) and lack of faith (we make it easier for God because we don‘t think He can handle anything big). Christians are not fatalists, making the passive acceptance of their lot in life their prime spiritual virtue; nor are we magicians attempting to manipulate the powers that be into giving us what we want. On the next higher level, prayer is like Jacob wrestling with the angel or the poor widow pestering the corrupt judge until he decided to hear her case just to get her off his back. We live in the tension between the desire to resign ourselves to God‘s sovereign will and the confident expectation that He really responds to us and our pleas on a one-to-one personal basis and is capable of turning things around on the basis of that response.

Ideally, out of a prayer life between these two poles there grows a bond with God in prayer where all we really want when we petition is to strengthen that bond by increasing our debt to God, like in our Lord‘s story told to Simon the Pharisee about the two debtors, the one with the greater debt written off loving the generous creditor more. When we can ask for a Mercedes Benz and get it without caring diddly for the car, only for the giver and His pleasure in giving it, then it can be safely asked for and granted in prayer.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.