Does God answer prayer or not?
Fr. Steve talks about the importance of daily mental prayer and encourages us to spend an extra 5 minutes daily doing it. Many of us do not think we have time to do mental prayer. For much of the time our prayer can tend to focus on petitions but do we ever spend time opening ourselves to a personal encounter with him? Fr. Steve shares an experience of his own in which he extended his prayer time and the Lord gave the message, “I covet these times.” The Lord wants to spend time with us. Let us take more time than we think we can afford.
Fr. Steve reads an excerpt from a book by the English-born Irish Dominican, Fr. Herbert McCabe:
“People often complain of “distractions” during prayer. Their mind goes wandering off on to other things. This is nearly always due to praying for something you do not really much want; you just think it would be proper and respectable and “religious” to want it. So you pray high-mindedly for big but distant things like peace in Northern Ireland or you pray that your aunt will get better from the flu – when in fact you do not much care about these things; perhaps you ought to, but you don’t. And so your prayer is rapidly invaded by distractions arising from what you really do want – promotion at work, let us say. Distractions are nearly always your real wants breaking in on your prayer for edifying but bogus wants. If you are distracted, trace your distraction back to the real desires it comes from and pray about these. When you are praying for what you really want you will not be distracted. People on sinking ships do not complain of distractions during their prayer.”
(McCabe, God, Christ, and Us, p. 8).
Often we ask God for things that are not good for us. But as Fr. McCabe notes, when we ask, he either gives us what we ask for or he gives us something better! God knows our need. Let’s persevere in prayer and allow God to give us what we really need, what is really good for us.