Placing Urgent Prayers in the Hands of God
St. Ignatius of Loyola once said:
“We must speak to God as a friend speaks to his Friend, servant to his Master; now asking some favor, now acknowledging our faults, and communicating to Him all that concerns us, our thoughts, our fears, our projects, our desires, and in all things seeking His counsel.”
Prayer is extremely important in the spiritual life, at times it is the last crutch on which we lean. Finances can become tight, future planning can seem overwhelming, and when things seem to be too much, we are inclined to turn to God. The reason we feel this inclination is because of our human limitations and the knowledge that God can do all things – the natural order of life. Life can seem to have too many difficulties, causing us to kneel down before our Creator, in search of answers.
Whether or not we are aware of it, God knows our every thought, and, of course, knows when we are praying with urgent requests. As Our Lord told us in the Gospel:
“Be not therefore solicitous for tomorrow; for the morrow will be solicitous for itself. Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof.” But, He does greatly care about the things that are concerning us. He looks down from Heaven with loving eyes, never looking away for a moment. When we feel the weight of our crosses, and have very urgent prayer requests, we need to remember that God knows how urgently we need them. [Matthew 6:34]
Archbishop Fulton Sheen once described millions and millions of silken threads with favors attached, and prayer as the sword that cuts these down for us. God did not create us in order to pray to Him without seeing results, just like a father would never ignore his child if he came to him starving. If God does not answer even our most urgent prayers the way we asked, there should be no doubt in our minds that He will answer them in an even better way. We are limited, and our minds cannot even imagine all the good that God wills for us. We beg and beg for a scrap of bread, instead our heavenly Father provides a feast for us. The more we turn to Him and ask for His assistance, the more He will handpick His most beautiful graces to bestow upon our hearts.
If we find ourselves feeling that God is distant, that He does not understand our pain, we should bring to our minds the scene of the Agony in the Garden. We are told that Jesus sweat blood because He took upon Himself the sins and sufferings of the world. He not only felt the effects of sin, but also the suffering we go through during the course of our lives. He did this as the first act of love and compassion during His Passion, the second was enduring the feeling of abandonment by His Father, while on the Cross. He was so determined to not only make reparation for our sins, but to also assure us that we are not alone, on our journey to Heaven.
We need not fear when we place ourselves at the throne of the Most High with our urgent petitions, because God knew before we existed that we would need Him in this moment. Let us trust that our Blessed Lord knows exactly how we feel, and will never reject our persevering prayer. If He were a God Who never listened to our needs, and willed our lives to be full of pain and hardship, He would not have taken upon Himself all our sufferings, so that we would never feel alone. If this does not console us, let us turn to our Blessed Mother for comfort. Even after Jesus went through all that He did, He gave us a Mother to comfort and console us at every moment.
The great Saint Louis Marie de Montfort tells us in his masterpiece, True Devotion to Mary:
“From day to day, from moment to moment, She increased so much this twofold plenitude that She attained an immense and inconceivable degree of grace. So much so, that the Almighty made Her the sole Custodian of His treasures and the sole Dispenser of His graces. She can now ennoble, exalt and enrich all She chooses. She can lead them along the narrow path to Heaven and guide them through the narrow gate to life. She can give a royal throne, scepter and crown to whom She wishes. Jesus is always and everywhere the Fruit and Son of Mary, and Mary is everywhere the genuine Tree that bears that Fruit of life, the true Mother Who bears that Son.”
Our Lady can give to us as many graces as She pleases, and let us be assured that She burns with this desire to give! After all, when Our Lord said it was not His time to perform a miracle at the wedding feast of Cana, She still told the waiters, “Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.” Our Lady has such a special place in the Heart of Our Lord, that in a way even He cannot resist Her every wish. We should never forget that our Blessed Mother waits eagerly to purify our prayers and lay them at the feet of God.
The devil may tempt us to think that our urgent prayers will not be answered, but Mary was created to crush his head and take part in our redemption. St. Louis Marie de Montfort continues, saying, “The greatest saints, those richest in grace and virtue will be the most assiduous in praying to the most Blessed Virgin, looking up to Her as the perfect Model to imitate, and as a powerful Helper to assist them.” With Mary all is possible, even those prayer requests that seem impossible.
‘But my prayers are never answered, it is just a waste of time,’ you may be tempted to say. However, as I mentioned, even if our prayers are not answered in the exact way we wanted, prayer is never wasted. As St. Peter Julian Eymard stated: "Have confidence in prayer. It is the unfailing power which God has given us. By means of it, you will obtain the salvation of the dear souls whom God has given you and all your loved ones. ‘Ask, and it shall be given you,’ Our Lord said. Be yourself with the good Lord.”
Yet, we should not dwell on the idea that God will never answer our prayers as we ask them to be answered. If we ask for things that are good for our soul and will lead us to Heaven, e.g. signal graces to know our vocation, God will answer our prayers. The three things we need are humility, perseverance, and confidence. If we humble ourselves and see all our good coming from God, persevere in what we are asking for, and have confidence in His power, we need not be afraid.
Let us then reflect on our lives, and pray for the graces we need for the future – either temporal or eternal. Through this practice we will be able to grow closer to God, and depend more on His assistance. This world is too limited to satisfy our spiritual needs, but God will always satisfy them. He sees our struggles, and His Sacred Heart burns with the desire to help us. All we must do is ask in humility, persevere in our prayers, and be confident that God can do all things – providing the graces needed for whatever we ask. God is kind and merciful.
St. Francis de Sales instructs us:
“In all your affairs lean solely on God's Providence, by means of which alone your plans can succeed. Meanwhile, on your part work on in quiet cooperation with Him, and then rest satisfied that if you have trusted entirely in Him, you will always obtain such a measure of success as is most profitable for you, whether it seems so or not to your own individual judgment.” God created us in His perfect image, let us then be perfect and thrive in His goodness.