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Why do we complain that God doesn’t hear our prayers?

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Philip Kosloski - published on 04/17/24

Often we are tempted to complain that God isn't listening to our prayers. Sometimes we do this because our view of God isn't correct.

Occasionally many of us are unhappy with how God responds to our prayers. We pray countless novenas, miracle prayers and litanies, but nothing appears to happen.

This can be frustrating, as it makes it seem that God doesn’t hear us.

We may even be tempted to think that God doesn’t exist because of the way he doesn’t respond to our prayers.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is well aware of this difficulty and explains that, “In the first place, we ought to be astonished by this fact: when we praise God or give him thanks for his benefits in general, we are not particularly concerned whether or not our prayer is acceptable to him. On the other hand, we demand to see the results of our petitions” (CCC 2735).

Generally speaking, if we give thanks to God or praise him for his greatness, we are satisfied. We don’t put up a fuss and are pleased with God.

Whenever we make such prayers we have no reason to complain. In such cases, “God is good.”

However, if we pray a prayer of petition, asking God for a specific result, we are tempted to be demanding.

In this case we want God to respond favorably to our pleas and to be quick in his response.

The Catechism comments that this disposition may be the result of our own false view of God:

What is the image of God that motivates our prayer: an instrument to be used? or the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?

CCC 2735

We may not like to reflect on our own view of God, but the Catechism forces us to ask ourselves an important question.

What is the image of God that motivates our prayer?

CCC 2735

We all need to ask ourselves such a question. It may not be easy to do so, but it is important to question our own view of God.

It can be tempting to view God as a grace dispenser or a miracle machine who is “our” instrument.

The truth is that God is not our instrument to control, but a loving and merciful Father.

He knows us better than we know ourselves and often that means the answer to our prayers is a “No.”

Its not easy hearing such an answer, but God knows what he is doing.

The key lies in trusting God, having faith that his ways are better than our ways.

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CCC PrayerFaithPrayer
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