The Right Kind of Prayer

I love how we pray, and to think about how God hears us. I know there have to be times when He just smiles and shakes His head at me, and I imagine you have had moments like those yourself.

I also love that we have such a great example in the words of the apostles. Peter, James, John - each one of them could speak directly to Jesus and could get an immediate answer. And they sounded just like us.

I recently read the passage where James and John approach Jesus on the way to Jerusalem. Right after Jesus told everyone that the journey would end in His arrest, conviction, and death, they come to Jesus and say, "Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask of you." (Mark 10:35)

They seem to have hardly heard what Jesus has told them about what is coming. They just come with their own personal request.

They don't ask, they simply demand. How often do we do that in our own prayer? We tell God the outcome that we want and ask that ourwill be done.

I imagine the answer is usually the same one that James and John received. "You do not know what you are asking." (Mark 10:38)

James and John wanted places of honor at the table of the King, but had no understanding of what it would take to get there. They didn't want the work, they wanted the privilege. They had no idea that what they were asking was much more than what they thought they wanted.

How should we pray? We should still offer all that we are struggling with and all that we desire in our prayer, but we need to be very careful about demanding an action. We may not know what we are asking for. Instead, we should pray that God's will be made clear, that we would be centered in that will, and that anything that takes us from it would be taken away.

Ask for what you need, bring your desires to prayer, and listen to God's plan for you in them. It is always more fruitful than what we have in mind.

Photo: Thoughtful Camera

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Karen May

Inspirational Catholic Writer and Speaker

based in Austin, Texas