Why Prayer is not answered.
How often have I heard the lament: “My prayer never seems to be answered.” There are reasons for this phenomenon taking place in the milieu of the modern world. So it is good to reflect upon the three necessities in prayer in order for that prayer to be answered by God. First Condition for all prayer is that it issues from a heart contrite and humble.
Humility is the prime condition for prayer to be answered. Consider the apparitions of our Lady to children and unless you and I become as little children we shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Humble thyself before the Lord thy God and He will draw near to you. Humility is the virtue which has the power to move God’s love in our direction. The humble shall be exalted while the proud will be humbled. In our proud culture in which the quest of man to become God tells us that not many will have their prayer answered because of the pride which taints their every thought, word and deed. The world revolves around the man even though he is a mere creature who is here today and gone tomorrow. Whatever happened to King Henry, or Constantine, or Buddha? Men come and go and therefore cannot be God though they may think they are. Humility is the true mark of greatness and must be developed in every person.
Second condition for our prayer to be answered is confidence. We must have confidence in the fact that God so loves us that He sent His only begotten Son into our flesh to ransom our souls for the kingdom of God. Humility actually breeds confidence for the more we understand how nothing we are before God then the more we are sure that God will answer our prayer offered in faith. Our confidence is the expression of a heart filled with faith and a soul filled with humility.
Finally, our prayer must be marked by perseverance. Consider the biblical examples of Samuel, of David, of Mary Magdalene. Every saint persevered in their prayer life with hours before the Blessed Sacrament. They did not throw in the towel when times were challenging. They prayed until something happened (PUSH). How often souls think their prayer in their minds and consider that as complete. No, we must not give up on our prayer because it is a coin of exchange for favors to be granted. To pray for a soul means that we must pay the price for that soul. Some souls are more costly than others and so we must continue without doubt that this spiritual good is desired by God and our Lady. When we have prayed sufficiently then God will shower the necessary grace upon the individual that we are seeking to save.
Humility, confidence and perseverance join together to bring our prayer to the Lord and according to His will the response will arrive at the door of our soul. Every prayer we utter will have a response if we keep these virtues before us as we practice our prayer. Remember prayer consist of petition, adoration, reparation and thanksgiving. So don’t allow your prayer to simple be a “give me” prayer. We should adore Him, make reparation for the sins of our lives and others; and we should always thank Him for everything because we are confident that He knows best our needs. He knows just how He wants us to become saints so don’t complain about His craftsmanship. Enjoy prayer, love to pray and pray always by lifting up your mind and soul to the One Who loves you.
In the hearts of Jesus, Mary and Joseph,
Fr. Voigt, S.D.B.