8/27/2002 Series: How to Get What You Pray For(Part 1)
One of the most difficult challenges for people who choose to include prayer in their lives is question of what to do when their prayers are not answered. This is especially true for people who have trusted their situations to St. Jude, since he is regarded as the patron saint of impossible or difficult causes. By the time most people have turned to him, it is because they have exhausted all other means to resolve their situation.
St. Jude is well known for his powerful gifts of intercession, and the dramatic changes he has brought about in people's lives. However, there are also instances of people who come to him and pray their requests, and then, if they don't get an immediate answer to their problem, they despair that their pain and distress is being ignored. Basically, they question the validity and benefit of praying in the first place.
This is particularly a problem because there are some sources (including many other websites) that have spread the erroneous message that if you pray the novena to St. Jude for 8 days, on the 9th day your pray will be granted. I can imagine how many people suffering from life-threatening physical conditions, or in the middle of problematic relationships, pray to St. Jude in the hope that on day 9 everything bad will go away. While miracles like that CAN and sometimes DO happen, the reality is that the more difficult the problem, usually the more involved the solution.
I'm going to propose something radical here: the reason our prayers are sometimes not answered in the way or timeframe we want is not because the person we are praying to isn't listening or has chosen to not answer, but rather because we are not praying for the right things. Wait a minute, you say. My uncle is sick, I pray for him to be healed. My husband is mistreating me, I pray for him to act better toward me. Right? Not exactly. Simple prayers like that are not wrong, just incomplete. They don't go far enough in opening up the true power of prayer.
This is the inspiration behind this How To Get What You Pray For series. Over the course of the installments to follow here in the St. Jude Times, we are going to cover some important ideas which, I hope, will challenge you to rethink your approach to prayer. We'll cover the key concepts of patience, peace, direction, and acceptance, and why they are so important to your prayer life. I won't guarantee that your problems will disappear after reading it. However, I'm confident it will make you reconsider your notions about prayer. I'm also confident that you will get more out of your novena to St. Jude and your entire prayer experience because of it.
I hope you'll stay tuned!
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