The Word of Jesus on Prayer

They ought always to pray.

— St. Mark. 18:1

Every gift of God is but a harbinger of his greatest and only sufficing gift—that of himself. No gift unrecognized as coming from God is at its own best; therefore many things that God would gladly give us, things even that we need because we are, must wait until we ask for them, that we may know whence they come; when in all gifts we find him, then in him we shall find all things.

Sometimes to one praying will come the feeling rather than the question, “Would he not be better pleased if I left matters altogether to him?” It comes, I think, of a lack of faith and childlikeness. Such thoughts have no place with St. Paul; he says, “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you;” “In everything making your request known unto him.” It may even come of ambition after spiritual distinction. In every request, heart and soul and mind ought to supply, “Thy will be done;” but the making of any request brings us near to him, into communion with our Life. Doe it not also help us to think of him in all our affairs, and learn in everything to give thanks? Anything large enough for a wish to light upon, is large enough to hang a prayer upon: the thought of him to whom that prayer goes will purify and correct the desire. To say, “Father, I should like this or that,” would be enough at once, if the wish were bad, to make us know it and turn from it.  Surely it is better to tell him all without fear or anxiety. Was it not thus the Lord carried himself towards his Father when he said, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from me?”