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Do we ask God for what is good for us?

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Philip Kosloski - published on 04/18/24

Its relatively easy to ask God for what we want, but do we pray to God asking for what is good for us?

Typically, when we pray prayers of petition, we ask God for something that we want or need.

We might be asking for good health, a new job, a future spouse or a new child.

Whatever it is, we frequently ask for things that we want, need, or would like to have.

Its possible that what we want will line up with what God wants for us, but that is not always the case.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church challenges us to review our interior disposition and how we pray prayers of petition:

Are we convinced that “we do not know how to pray as we ought”? Are we asking God for “what is good for us”? Our Father knows what we need before we ask him, but he awaits our petition because the dignity of his children lies in their freedom.

CCC 2736

One of the great mysteries of prayer is that God knows what we need before we even ask him.

Yet, God wants us to ask him for those things that we need. He wants to see our free response to his love.

Does God know what we need?

What we need to keep in mind is how God knows what is best for us and will not give us something we don’t need.

Jesus himself assures us of this in the Gospel of Luke:

For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?

Luke 11:10-12

What we need to do is pray with complete trust in God, having faith that he will give to us what we need, and not necessarily what we want:

We must pray, then, with his Spirit of freedom, to be able truly to know what he wants.

CCC 2736

Whenever we pray, we should keep all of this in mind and resign ourselves to the will of God.

We are encouraged to pray for those things that we think we need. God may grant us exactly what we pray for, responding precisely to our petition.

However, God may also answer our prayer in a much different way. We simply need to be open to God’s will, praying for what we want, but being satisfied with receiving what God knows we need.

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