the tragedy of answered prayer
"Grant the people's every request. It is not you they reject, they are rejecting Me as their King." —1 Samuel 8:7
The Lord in His love and mercy often does not give us what we ask for in prayer, when giving us what we want would harm us. "You ask and you do not receive because you ask wrongly, with a view to squandering what you receive on your pleasures" (Jas 4:3). However, the Lord sometimes gives us what we want, even if it will be harmful for us. The Israelites wanted to have a king (1 Sm 8:5). Samuel knew how wrong this was (1 Sm 8:6); nonetheless, God told him to "grant the people's every request" (1 Sm 8:7), even if that meant the people would become enslaved and oppressed (1 Sm 8:11-19).
Are you in danger of God answering one of your prayers? Are you about to get what you want but not what you need? Are you praying yourself into a mess — like a breakdown, divorce, or a form of slavery? You'd better change your prayer now before it's too late.
However, to change your prayer, you must change your heart. To change your heart, you must change your treasures (Lk 12:34). To change your treasures, you must turn to Jesus and repent (see Phil 3:7ff). Then you'll pray for what He wants and not what you want. What Jesus wants is always the best. What we want can be terrible. Pray with Jesus: "Not my will, but Yours be done" (see Mt 26:39).
Prayer: Father, teach me to pray (Lk 11:1) and especially to love.
Promise: "The Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." —Mk 2:10
Praise: St. Anthony went out into the desert simply to hear God and draw closer to Him. So many people were attracted to his lifestyle of holiness that Anthony was eventually called "The Father of Monks."
Rescript: †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, June 17, 2013
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