To Pray For Things Or Not To Pray For Things; That Is The Question

I feel a little apprehensive about this post but this is something that has been on my mind the last two years. My faith (by God’s Grace) took off in my early twenties (I am in my late fifties now). Each day for over 35 years, I chased God in wanting to know Him better. I prayed and prayed and prayed every which way that one can (my favorites being the Mass (both Roman and Byzantine (which is the Liturgy)) and the Byzantine Catholic Book of Prayers which made me feel so humble in the presence of the Lord). I read everything I could get my hands on to grow closer in faith with my Lord (The Bible and biblical commentary, apologetic books and magazines, historical books, saint books, etc). Finally, I watched alot of religious videos (because I learn better by vision). God led me to so many extremely interesting topics. I took it all in and loved every minute of it.

I’ve had large miracles occur in my life and I’ve had interesting/extremely convincing minor miracles happen too. My faith was on fire. I wanted everyone to know God’s Peace and Goodness. I tried not to force Him on people. I would bring Him up naturally in conversation so people wouldn’t be turned away. I tried to understand where each person was coming from in their walk of life. I loved and cared for them because I knew them better. My life with my wife and children was always a challenge but we got through the problems because of God. We have beautiful memories to look back on and smile (alot).

Like I said though, the last two years have been tough (but I’m sure many here have been through far worse than I have and I’m sorry I’m venting my problem when you have suffered more). I’m not going to get into any details about my life except that my prayer life has changed. It all stems from the idea that God is not a genie or a fairy godmother and grant one everything one prays for and I knew that throughout my relationship with God. But I kept leaning on the old PUSH acronym: pray until something happens. I was content with God’s answer even when He did not answer my prayers in the way I wanted Him too. Lately though there are things I’ve been praying for for a couple of decades and after contemplating an idea that has been with me for the last two years and watching a video about God answering prayers, I don’t really pray for anything anymore. I just pray to thank God for His bounty He has given my family and I. I feel God knows what’s on my heart, why ask every day or even numerous times during the day. I’m just going to focus on God and His glory and worship Him. Does anybody else have these feelings? Here is the video that kind of affirm what I have thinking over the last two years.


St Therese said “Prayer is, for me, an outburst from the heart; it is a simple glance darted upwards to Heaven…” She also at some point in her diary said “I no longer pray for this or that” but I can’t remember the exact place :frowning:

I’m just turning 30 so I’m not as advanced in prayer as you, but I have had this real problem with mental and verbal prayer. It was one of the reasons why religious life didn’t work out for me. My head really starts genuinely hurting and I get very anxious saying all the words and praying for this and that, and besides its just so tiring. So my prayer life consists of me repeatedly saying “thanks be to God” whenever anything happens, or I say “God have mercy on me”, otherwise there’s just like this little interior movement and I expect God to know exactly what I mean because it’s exhausting saying the words out. I don’t know if any of that makes sense or is comforting. Thanks for sharing!


Well Jesus did tell us the following:

Matthew 7:11 Therefore, if you, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your sons, how much more will your Father, who is in heaven, give good things to those who ask him?

But when we ask we should always always finish by saying “But no mine, but thy will be done”.
And if we do get what we requested, still thank GOD because HE knows us better than ourselves and what we are requesting is not good for us.



That’s a good video but about twice too long. (Does he start talking faster toward the end?!?)

I pray for the things I want, but mostly want spiritual goods for myself, my wife, and our children. I do pray over my own health concerns (like my bad back). We are reasonably well off financially and don’t pray about money. I don’t know if this counts as prayer, but we do have a kind of faith, or what I call an “abiding sense,” that either the money won’t run out, or if it does we will still get by.


Thank you for sharing that with me. I get tired too sometimes going through some of the longer prayers that I pray on a regular basis so I shorten them. I don’t remember what scripture passage it is where Jesus says not to be like the priests(?) who recite long prayers. So I try to keep it short and simple.

Of course it is always good to say the prayers of the saints because they are so close to God.
Their prayers are usually short. God Bless.

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Have you heard of St Teresa of Avila’s book “The Interior Castle”? You might enjoy it. It sounds like God is leading you to a new kind or level of prayer. A more mature one perhaps. After all, praising Him is what the angels do. :slight_smile:


I think God answers prayers in a way that help us towards eternal salvation, rather than solve problems in this life. Could the following prayer be a clue as to how God answers prayers?

I asked for Strength.
And God gave me Difficulties to make me strong.
I asked for Wisdom.
And God gave me Problems to solve.
I asked for Prosperity.
And God gave me Brain and Brawn to work.
I asked for Courage.
And God gave me Danger to overcome.
I asked for Love.
And God gave me Troubled people to help.
I asked for Favours.
And God gave me Opportunities.

I received nothing I wanted
I received everything I needed
My Prayer has been answered.


Found on a Civil War battlefield:

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve;
I was made weak, that I might learn humbly to obey.

I asked for help, that I might do greater things;
I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy;
I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life;
I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I was given nothing I had asked for, but everything
I had hoped for.

Despite myself, my prayers were answered; I am among
all men most richly blessed.


I’m the same way when it comes to praying. I pray for family members, friends, and the less fortunate and many different issues and then end the pray JerryZ says “not my will but Your will be done”. But from watching that video, the narrator makes one feel like we are just using God to get what we want from Him. Did you get that sense too? I have to say I felt like I spent the last 50 years praying the wrong way to God. I always remember Jesus’ words “seek and you shall find, knock and it will be opened for you …”

If one is saying this all the day long, then their very life is a prayer, in everything that they do.

Reminds me of Brother Lawrence.

Its all about simplicity

And the state of the interior life

I detest pumping out memorized prayers, and just prefer to be in a state of love for Him, like you, it seems, in all things

This takes work and practice, but once there, there is nothing in comparison to the joy and beauty


Growing up with ‘name it and claim it’ evangelicalism, it was a relief to become Catholic 7/8 years ago and learn a different way to pray. The rosary, with the cadence of repetition and meditation on mysteries has brought me much peace.

I envy the comfort you’ve received, the miracles, the reinforcement of faith. For me, believing God is always a choice, never a feeling, despite my desperation for consolidations.

I’ve been fighting cancer for twenty years and lost my beloved father twelve years ago next week due to cancer. It’s genetic, and the last six weeks we’ve endured the hell of nearly losing our daughter to a brain stem tumour (she’s 17 next week; my dad died–from a brain stem tumour–on her fifth birthday). I don’t have words to pray with my mouth or even my thoughts. I just have an anguish that I lift up, a pleading, whimpering despair. I know God knows my heart and words aren’t necessary–the Holy Spirit translates my groans. I feel no point in asking God for specifics much of the time–all of the ‘no’ answers to the prayers for my cancer to go away, for my dad to live, for people to help us (my husband and I don’t have family to help, we’re pretty much alone), and for my children not to inherit the cancer disease. All answers: no. For me, I feel as though my faith isn’t undermined by not asking God for specifics. It’s more of a resignation, knowing His will is being done despite my pleading for relief. I cannot pray words, but my heart is a fiery ball of anguish I internally hand over to God. What I wouldn’t give for God to give me a great consolation, some sign of peace or positivity or Presence. But He’s never worked that way with me, so I take one step after another.

My girl is in bad shape; the brain stem controls everything. She had surgery last week to relieve the pressure. She’s on a feeding tube and starts two weeks of radiation this week. At some point soon the neurosurgeons and neurooncologists will need to attempt to remove the tumour, but it’s incredibly difficult and embedded in the brain stem. I don’t want to watch my daughter die the same way my dad did. I believe her prognosis is more favourable than my dad’s was. I don’t pray for things in an intellectual and verbal sense right now; God knows I desperately want my girl to have function restored and her life spared, for relief from her pain, anxiety, and heartache. Without words, I just bundle it up and hand it over.


@NevermoreLenore I am so sorry for your suffering and pain that seems without any consolations.

God hears you, as you have shared, in the quiet

In the stillness of the hours of agony

Your spirit speaks to Him and He knows…He knows

And He holds you

One more second

One more minute

One more moment

As you commune with Him and He with you

There is no time


Prayers for your daughter and family.


I have not suffered in the way you or your family have with cancer; but I wonder if my approach to prayer might help.

In 2011 I had tests done for cancer, about a month later the doctor phoned and said he urgently wanted to see me, it was non – Hodgkin Lymphoma. This was a name I recognised, our friend had this cancer, and died a few months later.
Being told I had cancer was out of my hands, there was nothing I could do about it. But I still had choices; I could dictate how the cancer was going to affect my mind and my ability to cope with the news.

A few minutes after putting the phone down; I prayed for the wisdom, strength and peace to do God’s will, whether the cancer was a death sentence, or just an inconvenience. I can only say that from the moment of making this prayer, I have experienced a profound sense of peace, and the thought of cancer has never troubled me for a moment.

Cancer could be a truly worrying process, you wait a month or two for tests, you wait for the results, and you wait for more appointments. I have never once prayed for healing, at the age of 62, the prayer for healing seemed too complicated, it might or might not be my time to go. Recognising this profound sense of peace comes from God, gives me reason to be thankful.

You are in my prayers.


I am kind of in a debate with myself on how to pray. I have found many prayers for individual situations that speak my heart to God and I love saying them but then I try to say them daily and they become long mindless prayers to God. But I feel I need to say them because I care about these people and situations.

While I’m working though I can’t be too distracted so I offer up short prayers but sometimes these prayers don’t convey what I want to say to God. I don’t have the ability to work and make up prayer that I feel I want to say to God. So sometimes I just concentrate on God and Heaven (thru images in my head). Of course when my job aggravates me, I can go from praying to being ticked off in no time. Its tough to go back to praying when your in a bad mood and at my job it happens quite frequently lately.

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I’ve gotten to the point in praying for certain things, such as salvation for people who’re in very dark places in their lives as a recent example, where, after years of prayer, pleading, and fasting-and much worry and concern- I’ve felt that I did all I could, and that grace should at least be more available for that person, and that it was now time to back off from such intense effort. But St Monica prayed for her son for 30 years and I can’t help but appreciate this parable about not giving up praying, where the persistent widow kept pleading with the unjust judge for justice against someone who victimized her with the judge finally giving in and Jesus said,
“Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off?"

I do believe that justice and salvation are the greatest ultimate concerns for God-and that we place ourselves in a right place the more those things are also concerns of ours. Illness and death will be our lot in any case and while its good to pray for such things-and God can certainly use such prayer for His purposes- we don’t always know His will in such matters. And as the bible also tells us:

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

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Ultimately, God wants a relationship with you that achieves unification with Him as the final goal…

Obviously there are steps on this path towards heaven

There is a place for verbal prayers, as in the Mass, or saying the daily rosary to contemplate Him in the mysteries and grow closer in love and devotion to Mary.

Mental prayer is necessary I believe in the growth process, and to me at least, is something to learn and to start practicing.

Here is a link to mental prayer by St Aphonsus Ligouri that talks about what it is

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Perhaps instead of things, pray for the graces you will need and the virtues you will need to develop the spiritual growth that Christ wants for us in this life.

You are not alone in not praying for “things,” as I never do and have no need for “things,” as much as I need His grace!

An example is saying the rosary daily and focusing on the mysteries and asking for the same grace and virtues to achieve what Christ achieved.

For example, asking for the grace to love Mary, Queen of Heaven more, to draw closer to her.

Another example, during rosary to meditate on is praying for the graces to be transformed like in the transfiguration. For the Holy spirit to renew your mind.

When contemplating these mysteries and saying the rosary beads, also, pray, “Veni Sancte Spiritus,” or come Holy Spirit come, so that the Holy spirit will fill you and edify you!

Christ ascended into heaven, and the Holy Spirit descended…contemplate on these things slowly and calmly while focusing on your breathing and calling the HS.

This is just an example…

I dont know if this is really Lectio couched into the rosary?

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I’ve never really considered changing my approach to pray and I’m not really sure how to do that. I must admit, I’m stuck saying the same prayers (and I probably will never stop) but I need to change why. when and how I pray. Maybe I do need to change directions in my prayer life somewhat. I’ll have to look into God’s Grace itself and find out more. Thanks for the insight; I appreciate it.

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Just talk freely to God of what is on your heart

Share your burdens with Him

Talk to Him, simply, throughout the day

He loves you infinity

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