As I read this question in “The New Question Box” (I’m reaching the end of this book soon!), I thought of something, and when I read the rest of the answer, I found that I have essentially the same answer as Dietzen.

It is a good question and one that is asked quite often. If God is good, and he loves us, as the bible tells us, then why doesn’t he already give us what’s best for us instead of us having to ask him for it?

The question we really need to ask is: what is best for us? What we think is best for ourselves often may not be what’s best for us. For example, an elderly woman suffering from a back condition may think that the best thing for herself is to be cured of the condition. But God might think differently. In fact, he probably does. He might think that what is best for her is for her to trust in his providence completely, and place herself in his hands.

So if she prays to be cured, and doesn’t get cured, it is because she has prayed for her own desires to be fulfilled. If, however, she prays for her to be able to trust in God’s providence and that God’s has a reason for her to be in this condition, then that prayer is likely to be answered, because it is God’s will. Furthermore, since this is the reason that she is in this condition - that God wants her to trust him - God might cure her.

Of course this is something that only God would know, and is just an example. But this example serves as an example for all the prayers that we have.

The purpose of prayer therefore is for us to recognise who God is in our lives, and to recognise his love and providence and care for us. This is truly what is best for us, in any situation that we might be in. It is thus applicable to anyone, anywhere, at any time.

If this is indeed what is best for us, then we see that the different situations and trials that we go through become necessary for us to recognise what indeed is best for us.

This certainly takes a change in mindset, recognising that the focus is not ourselves and our desires, but is God and who he is in our lives.

Regular and fervent prayer of this kind therefore makes us always aware of God’s presence and love in our lives, which really is the best thing for us all the time.

Dietzen describes it simply in this paragraph:

Frequently in the Gospels, in fact, God strongly urges us to put pressure on him with our prayers, not because he is reluctant to help us, but because perseverance and urgency in our prayers helps us to realize our dependance upon his help and increases our openness to the good gifts he can give.

So, there is nothing wrong with desperately seeking God’s help in prayer. In fact, it is good and encouraged, not to mention that we tend to pray so fervently only when we’re in deep shit.

Incidentally, this answer also does happen to answer questions like “Why must this happen to me?”

Naturally though, the more we pray the more we should come to realize that without God, we are nothing. This should therefore lead us to praying fervently to God frequently. Unfortunately pride often takes over and it tells us, “Ah, you made it through last time, you can do it again this time.” In so doing, the sin of pride begins when we start to rely on our own strength instead of relying on God.

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