Prayer is about our answer, not God’s. Pope Francis reminded us recently that “Prayer is not a magic wand,” that it is not all about us, what we want, what we need. Prayer is not so much about petition as it is about presence. It is our acknowledging God’s presence and our response.
Isaiah stood in His presence and responded, “Here I am Lord, send me.” (Isaiah 6:8) Prayer is seeking God’s will. It is us standing in His presence saying, “It’s me Lord … Mary … What do you have in mind?” Jesus gave us the pattern for a prayer of petition at Gethsemane when he prayed that his cup of suffering might pass, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.”(Luke 22:42)
When I read the Holy Father’s words, I am reminded of a little verse that children are taught: “I know not by what method rare, but this I know, God answers prayer.” Pope Francis continued, “God promptly answers his children, although this does not mean he does it in the time and manner that we would like. Prayer is not a magic wand! It helps to preserve our faith in God, and to trust in Him even when we do not comprehend His will. In this, Jesus himself – who prayed so much– is the example.”
When the Apostles asked to be told how to pray, Jesus taught them the Lord’s Prayer. It acknowledges God’s holiness, hopes for the coming of his kingdom, seeks his will, prays for our needs, and then seeks His forgiveness and protection.
What better pattern for our prayer?
Prayer does not need words, it only needs faith.