What should I do when my prayers for help make things worse?


Often times I’ve found myself (and my wife) in times of trouble, just like everybody else. Many of those times I’ve prayed for mercy, help, patience, anything to help me/us get through things and I find that the more I pray, the worse things get. With every prayer the stuff piles deeper.

I admit I’m not a saint and sometimes I may deserve to be humbled but to answer a prayer of succor with more suffering is…well, I don’t know what it is. Things don’t get any better until I end up screaming at God and all of heaven. Why would there be any reason for prayers to be answered with the opposite of what was asked for?



Well for starters, you don’t know that things have gotten worse as the result of your prayer. This is like saying that the train goes by everyday when my watch says three o’clock. Therefore, my watch is making the train go by at that time. Things may well have gotten worse even if you hadn’t prayed. All that you know is that you prayed and things got worse. What you also don’t know, is how much worse things might have gotten if you hadn’t prayed!

So there is a lot here that you do NOT know. What we DO know is that God has loved us enough to create us from nothing. We also know that by becoming one of us, He has shared our human life to the point of suffering and dying for our benefit. He didn’t have to do this. By allowing us a share in His cross, He gives us an opportunity to trust that He loves us. By trusting Him we show our love for Him.

Fr. Vincent Serpa, O.P.

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