Why Do We Pray?

Do you pray so that your will is done? Do you pray so that God alters the circumstances to meet your desires?

This week Jesus reminds us that we who are not good can give our children what they ask of us and so why would you think that our Father in heaven who is all love and merciful would deny us of anything we want?

 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”Lk11:13

In the movie “Shadowlands” depicting his life story, C. S Lewis struggles with the pain of losing his wife Joy in the battle against cancer.

His friend mocks him “…but I know how hard you’ve been praying; and now God is answering your prayers.

In response to this, Lewis replies “That’s not why I pray, Harry. I pray because I can’t help myself. I pray because I’m helpless. I pray because the need flows out of me all the time, waking and sleeping. It doesn’t change God, it changes me.”

We are taught that prayer is raising our minds and hearts to God – lifting up to our Father what is inside of us. Just as Therese of Lisieux says prayer is “… a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”

Mother Theresa echoes that of C.S. Lewis – prayer is meant to enlarge our hearts to contain God and we are thus strengthened. We pray because we need God.

I used to pray that God would feed the hungry, or do this or that, but now I pray that he will guide me to do whatever I’m supposed to do, what I can do. I used to pray for answers, but now I’m praying for strength. I used to believe that prayer changes things, but now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.”