Intercessory Prayer

Friends in Christ,
Our readings today from the Old and New Testament urge us to one thing: prayer.  There are various types of prayer, but today Our Lord speaks about intercessory prayer.  

Intercessory prayer is asking God for things:  for help, for our needs, for other’s needs.  

We see Esther in the first reading pleading with God for help.  ‘Help me,’ she says. She starts praying for herself, but she ends by saying, ‘help US.’ Our prayers should be like that. We pray for ourselves, but we should include so many others.   

In the Holy Father’s recent Exhortation,  Evangelii Gaudium, he says: ‘Let us peer for a moment into the heart of Saint Paul,  to see what his prayer was like. It was full of people:  In his letter to the Philipians he says: “I constantly pray WITH YOU in every one of my prayers, FOR ALL OF YOU, because I hold YOU in my heart” (Phil 1:4- 7).’ ‘Prayer always has a place for others, he says.  

Jesus says today: “Ask and it will be given; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened.” Our Lord has told us to ask for things from our Good Father, who is more anxious to help us than even our earthly parents.  

Some  say, ‘God is unchanging, eternal, we can’t change his mind.’ ‘Do we think we can altar the Divine Plan?!  

Fr. Gerald Vann[i] writes, we do not pray to change God’s plan or against it; we pray within the framework of his plan. In the universe that God has made, there are forces at work. A tornado smashes a man’s car – this is a force which God takes into account. Saturday is sunny for the picnic –  the forces of nature are part of God’s plan. A man proposes to his fiancé on Tuesday, his WILL is one of the forces in God’s universe.

Well, prayer is another force that is part of God’s universe, and like other forces, it affects events of the world; We pray because in God’s plan, this prayer may be foreordained to bring about this event rather than that one.   

God is outside of time.  Past, present, and future are ONE for God, so it is easy for God to include in his plan all the forces of the universe, including our prayers.   

But if we don’t get what we ask for, we should nevertheless trust  that just as good fathers on earth often answer requests with something different but better, Our Heavenly Father knows what is the best way to answer our prayers.  

 


[i] The Divine Pity, p. 109.

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