I'm afraid God won't answer my prayers
Many of us find ourselves resisting prayer because we are afraid God will not answer our prayers. This fear can be quite complex. First, am I even confident that God hears me when I pray? Do I believe that He cares enough to listen? And even if He does care and listen, will He give me the thing I am asking for? Isn’t that what we really mean when we talk about God answering our prayers? For example, if I pray for a sick family member to be healed, when I speak of whether God answered this prayer, I am usually speaking of whether or not He healed my sick family member. But is that the only answer possible? And even if we do believe that God listens, cares, and answers, why are we still afraid to pray? Perhaps there are other underlying fears. Continuing the example from above, perhaps I am not so much afraid that God won’t hear or answer, perhaps my underlying fear is that my sick family member will not get better.
So how do we overcome this very complex fear? First – with patience! This is a process of learning how to trust God more deeply. We will present some different steps to help you move along that journey, but there is nothing wrong with spending some extra time at one of the steps, or periodically returning to a previous step for reassurance!
Remember that, ultimately, in prayer we are seeking to bring our will in union with God’s will. Jesus shows us how to do this by His example, and He also gives us the power to do it. This means that we will formulate prayers that match the desires of God and will understand more fully God’s Good desires and plans for us. So, start by:
1) Pray! Ask Jesus to make you want what He wants, and what God wants. You may not feel an instant change, but this is a prayer that will eventually give God permission to change your heart.
2) Make use of the sacraments. Attending Mass, receiving Holy Communion, and going to Reconciliation all ways in which we receive the grace to become more like Jesus, and the more we become like Him, the more we will want what He wants and understand what He wants.
3) Make daily Scripture reading and reflection part of your routine. Don’t know where to start? Begin with 5 minutes a day! On the run? Try a Bible App like this one! Meditating on Scripture will help conform our mind to Christ, bring us deeper faith, and help us learn about all the different ways God shows His love and answers prayers.
Keep praying and bringing your needs before the Lord. Tell Him what you want, and why you want it. And ask Him to help you to see the outcome in the same way He sees it.
Revisit the above sections as often as necessary to remind yourself!
Has this process helped you to discover that your fear is different than a fear that God won’t answer? Return to the Explore section to help you work through some other fears related to the Eucharist, Confession, Pain and Suffering, Returning to Mass, and more!