Today I was sitting in Mass and a thought I’ve often had popped in my head. As the Prayers of the Faithful wrapped up, our priest said what he always says at that point: “Father, we ask you for what we think we need; in your wisdom, give us what you know we need through Christ Our Lord.”
That always leaves me with a question: Why ask God at all? Especially if He already knows what’s best for us?
Later, after work, I got home and went through my usual evening routine: greet wife, hug baby, shame-eat pistachios while they’re downstairs. Eventually it was dinner time for our ten-month old, so my wife got out some cheese and Ritz crackers and a little bit of turkey, and Cayleigh went to town. Then I pulled out the big guns (Cayleigh’s definitely a Momma’s girl right now, so I have to bribe her to make her like me): I busted out a nanner.
Cayleigh LOVES bananas. She started clapping and convulsing and smiling so big you would have thought I was giving her a crack-covered binky or something. I sliced up the fruit and gave her some.
Eventually, she had eaten all the pieces on her tray and started whimpering a bit. I knew she wanted more, but we’re working on some simple sign language with her, and the one she’s got down pretty well is “more”. So I didn’t give her more until she asked.
She touched her little fingers together, asking for more, and I gave her what she wanted. But I made her ask first.
So it occurred to me, maybe that’s how it works with God. Maybe He makes us ask because He wants us to learn how to communicate. Maybe those little petitions are the baby-steps on the way to real dialogue and deep connection. Or maybe He just wants us to stop fussing about our food or crying about how tired we are long enough to look at Him, even if it’s just to ask for something simple.
St. Josemaria Escriva tells us to pray like children: don’t beat around the bush with God; just tell Him what you want. Then trust that your Father will take care of it.