When we pray, does God care if we are ultra-specific with our requests and our prayers?
Or is sincerity, passion, earnestness more of a factor?
I had a friend say “I’ll continue to pray for your mom, but now I can pray with more specificity.”
Friends make their needs known all the time. We hear stories on the news. People need our prayers.
All day, every day… people suffer. We suffer. We sin. We screw up. We make poor choices. We say the wrong thing. We think the wrong thought.
We don’t practice mercy.
Jesus said “I am giving you three ways of showing mercy toward your neighbor. The first is by deed. The second is by word. The third is by prayer.
How many times don’t we do any of these?
So we need prayer, too.
Does God demand specificity of prayer?
If we don’t pray with words, but instead with guttural groanings…
is that sufficient?
I have five kids. A wife. Seven grand kids. Mom and Dad. Sisters. Brothers-in-law. Their families. The in-laws’ families. Cousins, aunts, uncles, friends. Facebook acquaintances.
All have needs. Many specifically request prayers.
I promise to pray for them.
Does God demand my specificity?
My dear Aunt Bernie, one of the most beautiful women who has ever lived — in my mind — says, with a laugh, that she has a list on the refrigerator of people to pray for. She says “okay, God, you know who’s on my list. I can’t remember them all, but you’re God. You know who they are.”
Is that sufficient?
My prayers are often the same. I can’t recall every name. I can’t recall every intention.
I can’t get to every request in the finite time I have to pray, with the finite, imperfect limits of my feeble brain.
When I ask God to remember all those who have asked for prayers, who have asked for relief, who have asked for prayers and “healing energy” for loved ones,
and I can’t remember their names or the specific request or situation…
is that sufficient?
My son, Doug, shared a link the other day to a “story” that he said simultaneously fascinated and frightened him, about the vastness of the Universe and our place in it.
God has a lot to keep Him occupied.
How does He keep up with all the prayer requests?
How does He order the Universe?
How do the planets hold their orbit? How do the stars maintain their energy?
It’s all part of The Plan.
(That’s not part of scripture, as far as I know.)
But we have come to understand His Plan a little more since the scriptures have been written. With the help of scientific method, developed by the way by those silly Catholics.
It’s a small part. Our understanding. But it’s a start. We’ll never have a complete understanding.
But to me, there’s some comfort in knowing a bit more of The Plan.
The vast Universe.
Yesterday, January 28, was the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, who was born on January 28, 1225 and died March 7, 1274.
Thomas wrote the “Summa Theologica,” probably his most famous work. Thomas intended it as a summary of the main theological teachings of the Church.
The Summa Theologica is not a completed work. It is said that Thomas was asked to resume writing it. Just months before Thomas died, however, he had a mystical experience while celebrating Mass. His response to being asked to resume writing was something like this:
All that I have written seems like straw compared to what has now been revealed to me.
Cannot the same be said of our prayer life? Our “sending good vibes” to our fellow travelers? Our “holding each other in love and light?”
How much straw are our prayers? Yes, they are real. Yes, they are important. Not only to us, but to God.
But how much straw?
How much more He is to us… how much more He can do for us… how much more He does for us… how much more He sees in us…
than we can possibly humanly express in our prayer life?
The important thing is that we express it.
Whether we use words or guttural groanings.
The important thing is that we ask.