How would you know your prayers are according to God’s plan?
God answers all prayers.
His answers is…
I Have a Better Plan.
If one prayer was answered and the other was not, then I would probably say that the other wasn’t according to God’s Will.
Because you are assuming that just because it was granted the first time this would continue to be God’s Will for you always. We are to grow in faith, love and charity. Maybe now that the first prayer was answered God Will expects more of you?
Because it seems you are setting the standards for what worked and what didn’t. There is no way you could ever know if a prayer to the saint’s did not work, according to God’s will, in this lifetime.
As God can see our life and what’s best for us, I imagine that some unanswered prayers are better for our salvation. Some are to allow us to struggle a trial. I don’t see unanswered prayers as bad, just difficult to accept.
You know, there are four kinds of prayer: petition, adoration, contrition, thanksgiving.
If your whole idea of prayer is that it wholly consists of petition, then that’s probably a good place to start changing things up.
Prayer is communication with God. Not just asking for stuff.
Work on your adoration, your contrition, and your thanksgiving. And when you want to petition for something, say, “Dear God, please give me the grace to do your will regarding X.”
Speaking totally personally here, and not talking about anybody else in the planet, but me, personally, for myself— when I find myself stuck on an issue, it’s because my personal laziness has prevented me from cooperating with God. He poured his grace on me to do what needed to be done— but I was like a rock, and it all shedded off. But if I had been like a sponge, and cooperated, it would have gone much better. But the problem wasn’t with God, the problem was with me not lifting a finger to help him answer my prayers. And so that’s something that I struggle with. It would be cool if I say, “Hey, God, fix those other people so thy will be done!” but nothing’s going to happen if I don’t do my part to move things in the right direction to help set things up for other people’s actions. And since I don’t act— other people don’t act, either.
These types of questions are always plagued by room for endless speculation and simplistic answers that are unjust, cruel, irrational or all three. I think the best answer is that we simply can’t know.
The death of my daughter at 21 hours old led to the reconciliation of families torn apart by years of abuse, divorce, and other things. My wife and I grew through the excruciating pain of her loss and Our Lady has been and is central to my personal healing.
Why didn’t God answer our prayers for our daughter, but did for our son? Was the death of our daughter necessary? Her story saved other children from being aborted and healed deep familial wounds. His plans, inscrutable and infuriating in the moment, have worked together for good, for salvation.
Sometimes it’s best to tremble in silence and, despite anger and grief and confusion, repeat Our Lady’s words: “Let it be done to me according to Your will”.
They are all, ultimately answered…Read the Book of James for some great insight…even when we ask wrong, God can discern our needs and answer what we should have asked his help for…trust His wisdom, and humbly accept our weaknesses.
While it may seem simple for us to know that what we are praying for is in accordance with God’s will, often times we just cannot see the big picture.
Just like Monica, sometimes we are praying for what we think must be God’s will because it is a good thing. Unfortunately, because of our fallen world, sometimes God’s will works in ways that don’t make sense to us. For Monica, it made sense that Augustine needed to stay near her and that his going to Rome would result in her losing him and any chance of him becoming Catholic.
To her, this seemed to be God’s will; in her mind, her prayers were in conformity to what seemed to her must be God’s will. In the end, God’s will prevailed not through what she thought was God’s will was, but rather what God’s will actually was: Augustine leaving for Rome, and becoming one of the greatest and most well known saints the world has known.
Also consider, that perseverance in prayer is also important. If God granted someone their every prayer, what kind of relationship would that develop? God is not a genie or who grants wishes, or a vending machine that dispenses whatever we have selected as long as we have deposited the requisite amount of prayer currency.
By not granting prayers immediately or answering them exactly in the way we have asked them, God teaches us to keep praying. Rather than assuming prayer is a waste of time, or that
we should instead persevere in our prayer, and work to grow in our prayers. Instead of praying like this:
“Lord, please grant me this request, for I know it conforms to Your will…”
perhaps try praying like this:
“Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.
I feel this request of mine is in conformity with Your will, and humbly ask that if it be Your will, that you grant me this request.
If it is not Your will, please grant me the grace to understand what Your will truly is;
and if instead, Your will is for me to remain in darkness as to why You might refuse my request or how my request is not Your will, then please have mercy on me and grant me the grace and wisdom to trust in you alone.
Lord, Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
2 Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials,
3 for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.
4 And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives to all men generously and without reproaching, and it will be given him.
6 But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.
7 For that person must not suppose that a double-minded man,
8 unstable in all his ways, will receive anything from the Lord.
By trusting in the Lord instead of ourselves, we solidify our faith. By persevering in our prayers, we place our trust in Him and we grow in wisdom that His will always prevails.
Also, reflect on the Lord’s mercy, and what mercy really means:
“The word mercy in English is the translation of the Greek word eleos. This word has the same ultimate root as the old Greek word for oil, or more precisely, olive oil; a substance which was used extensively as a soothing agent for bruises and minor wounds. The oil was poured onto the wound and gently massaged in, thus soothing, comforting and making whole the injured part. The Hebrew word which is also translated as eleos and mercy is hesed, and means steadfast love. The Greek words for ‘Lord, have mercy,’ are ‘Kyrie, eleison’ that is to say, ‘Lord, soothe me, comfort me, take away my pain, show me your steadfast love.’ Thus mercy does not refer so much to justice or acquittal a very Western interpretation but to the infinite loving-kindness of God, and his compassion for his suffering children! It is in this sense that we pray ‘Lord, have mercy,’ with great frequency throughout the Divine Liturgy.”
@ Lost_Sheep, For God not to love us all, who are made in His image, would be a violation of His nature. God is love, and He wills good for all of us. Nothing we can do can cause that to change.
If God is love, and God did not love someone, then in effect, God would cease to exist to that person. Since God sustains all that is in existence, if Love (God) ceased to exist for that person, then that person would cease to exist.
God does not violate His own nature. Just like you can’t have a square circle, God can’t act contrary to His nature. God is eternal love, eternally wills to create out of that love, and eternally loves that which He creates.
23 But thou art merciful to all, for thou canst do all things, and thou dost overlook men’s sins, that they may repent.
24 For thou lovest all things that exist, and hast loathing for none of the things which thou hast made, for thou wouldst not have made anything if thou hadst hated it.
25 How would anything have endured if thou hadst not willed it? Or how would anything not called forth by thee have been preserved?
26 Thou sparest all things, for they are thine, O Lord who lovest the living.
All prayers are answered, sometimes the answer is no.
Sometimes they are answered in time, sometimes a long time.
I have learned to always append my prayers with something like: “Lord, accept these prayers and consider them at your will. For those prayers you may choose to answer in a way I might not expect, help me to understand your answer and the good that it will inevitably bring.”
I married a Catholic girl in 1971. It took until 2010 for me to accept confirmation in the Catholic Church. A couple of years ago she mentioned that she had always prayed for my conversion (She never pressed it on me) but one time she received an audible response from God “You don’t have to worry about Michael”. So she stopped worrying, but she continued to pray.
After some discussion and my great surprise it came out that she had received this answer sometime in 1975. So if you think God is not answering your prayers… be patient, He ALWAYS answers. We simply need to listen.
There are too many factors involved to answer this without more information, but it is a mistake to assume you are doing something “wrong” because the answer to prayer is “no” or “wait”. When we pray, we need to pray as Jesus did in the Garden, “not my will, but yours be done”. Our desires are not always what is best for us, or in the situation.
I am not sure what this means. What is “works”? Does that mean you got what you wanted?
Sometimes when prayer “works” we get the opposite of what we want, because that is what is best for us. Only God knows these things best.
This is based upon a false premise. When God does not give us what we want, it is out of love for us, because He has something better in mind for us. The fact that you would understand “no” answer as “rejection” rather than love speaks to the great need you have for healing of inner wounds.