The holiday season is an especially tempting time to liken God to Santa Claus.
But God is not Santa Claus.
Neither is he a system to be manipulated with just the right formula. God is personal, and prayer is about cultivating a relationship with Him.
However, all relationships require some practical advice, including our relationship with God!
Below are 10 tips for making prayers of petition more effective, inspired by Fr. John Hampsch’s booklet, When God Says No.
10 Tips for Making Prayers of Petition More Effective
1) Thanksgiving & Honor
Prioritize giving God thanks, honor, glory and praise. No friend wants to be objectified and neither does the Lord!
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given you besides.” (Matt. 6:33)
2) Pray for faith
Jesus rebukes his disciples for lacking faith. We ask him to move mountains, but we should first beg for the depth of faith necessary to move those mountains. (Matt. 17:20)
Lack of forgiveness is a major obstacle to answered prayers.
4) Seek spiritual healing
Spiritual healing occurs through contrition, confession, and the continual struggle that comes with the desire for holiness.
“It’s useless to ask God for favors while spitting in his face living in a state of sin,” Fr. Hampsch said.
Spiritual healing leads to emotional and physical healing as well.
(1 Jn. 3:21-22)
5) Seek emotional healing
If the petition is for physical healing, the root cause could be an unhealed emotional wound.
We are not souls trapped in bodies. We are body and soul composites. The Scriptures confirm this profound connective unity:
“A joyful heart is the health of the body but a depressed spirit dries up the bone.” (Prov. 17:22)
6) Say goodbye to pettiness
The Apostles failed to perform an exorcism of a boy because of their “perversity.” In short, they argued about which of them was the greatest.
7. Say goodbye to uncharitable acts…
…especially in your families:
“Likewise, you husbands should live with your wives in understanding, showing honor to the weaker female sex, since we are joint heirs of the gift of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”
(1 Pet. 3:7)
8. Pray for others
9) Read the Bible daily
“If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”
10. Pray IN HIS NAME, surrendering to His will
“So that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you.”
God only gives us what is good, for our good. So if a prayer is not answered as requested, trust Him anyway. He loves you more than you love yourself.
God respects your freedom, and you must respect His.
As my professor in graduate school said, “Stop treating God like a senile old grandfather you expect to give you the keys to the Porsche whenever you want!”