by Deacon Thomas Frankenfield
Although I have been preparing to start another series for this year, I felt it important to address the topic of unanswered prayers that frequently comes up in reader questions.
Unanswered Prayers are Challenges to Believe
First off, most of us struggle to understand why some of our prayers are answered and others are not answered. Our faith tells us that all prayers are answered by a God who unconditionally loves us and knows what is best for us.
The greatest dilemma we encounter when we lay our problems at the feet of God is that we often expect answers in the terms we best understand. Our source for this belief is very powerful. Jesus tells us, “Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you. Until now you have not asked anything in my name; ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.” (John 16: 23-24)
Many of us have struggled with demons our entire lives and have asked God for them to go away. The fact that many remain today might seem that God has not answered our prayers. One of the most difficult areas is that God may not have in mind for us the same solutions that we think about. A concrete example is my friends who are recovering alcoholics. God helps them to handle their addictions one day at a time and uses their experiences to help minister to other addicts.
Think of all the inspiring stories we hear about those who overcome tremendous difficulty. Examples like Michael J. Fox’s work with Parkinson’s disease or the late Christopher Reeves work with paralysis show how God has uses the disease and suffering to make the world a better place. Publications like the Chicken Soup for the Soul series have collected stories of God’s miracles of overcoming suffering.
Finally, in its Magisterial teaching role as represented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) our Church addresses the issues clearly. The CCC says, “Do not be troubled if you do not immediately receive from God what you ask him; for He desires to do something even greater for you, while you cling to him in prayer.” (CCC 2737)
God does desire great things for us. We believe along with St. Paul that God does everything for our good especially to those who love Him (Rom 8:28)
So, my friends, the bottom line comes back to our relationship with God and the depth of our faith that regardless of the situation our God is there to support us. He supports us through sickness, death, achievement and even in time of silence.
His prayer, the Lord’s Prayer, should be our prayer. In it we need to follow the guidance that Christ gave to us. We are called to pray as Jesus did saying toe his Father, “Thy will be done” and to ask for our daily bread from God. We should learn to live the message of the Lord's Prayer and make it a part of our life.
The Real Presence -- Unconditional Love as Our Aid to Strengthening Faith
Every day and in every way, Jesus Christ is there to help us deal with any doubts about Him not providing us answers to our prayers. We are truly called to have faith in a God who has come to us as a man to save us.
Furthermore, Jesus' passion and death were redemptive suffering. He truly did die for each one of us personally. Moreover, gives us His real presence for all times in the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
Jesus Christ can show you the wisdom of totally letting your troubles rest in Him. Jesus is there to help is regardless of our suffering. Whether Jesus sends the exact solution as we asked for it or He provides another answer, He asks us to do is to let go and relax and trust in Jesus.
For Your Reflection
From a Ministry Perspective:
- In my ministry how do I witness to those who struggle with unanswered prayers the depths of Jesus' unconditional love?
- In my personal relationship with God, what obstacles do I have to being comfortable God’s answers to my prayers?
From a Family Perspective:
- In our Domestic Church, am I a personal reminder of Jesus' unconditional love for our family?
- In our Domestic Church's as parent, sibling, widow or single, how can share my pain and suffering with others, so they can see Jesus' unconditional love?
I would love your feedback, thoughts, stories and ideas. Please email me.
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