Prayer is not the key

Asking an average Christian, “what is the key to God’s Heart? The simple answer that you will receive is: prayer. That’s why you hear such songs like: “Prayer is the key, prayer is the key, prayer is the master key!!!” But who has considered how that prayer is made?

You have prayed and fasted, yet to no avail. You are already loosing hope in God. The next question is: does God answer prayers?

Today’s readings actually demonstrate that the Lord God cares, so He answers prayers. But if so, why does He not answer prayers or even if He answers, He is too slow?

The first reading from the book of Wisdom 2:12,17-20 may look like a story of how the wicked prepare to ambush the just man. However, that’s a demonstration of the some of the things beneath our prayers; praying with negative ambitions,or desires. Many of us pray with wickedness.

When many of us pray, physically, one looking at our piety may think that these prayers are of pure desires and should be answered quickly, but beneath they are full of negative ambitions like: envy, domination, power, covetousness, greed, lust, idolatry, vanity, selfishness licentiousness, revenge, promiscuity and what have you?

We are therefore asking God to fulfill our prayers inorder to service those negative ambitions above. This is what exactly is painted in Wisdom 2:12,17-20 where some persons work against another with evil desires and if actually they are to pray, they pray with such intent, but how would God grant such prayers; the Lord God cares and in not answering such prayers, He has answered the prayer.

Now, the second reading James 3:16-4:3 names the proper desire which should be the foundation of our prayers: peace, kindness, being considerate, compassion, impartiality, service to others,etc these are of pure intentions. The end product shall be Holiness. so, why would God answer prayers whose end product shall be unrighteousness and evil?

James asks then, “Where do these wars and battles between yourselves first start? Isn’t it precisely in the desires fighting inside your own selves?” So, eventually, when we pray, we pray unconsciously or consciously in accordance to our desires.

These were summarized by Jesus Christ in the Gospel :Mark 9:30-37. Jesus was telling his disciples what actually He came to do: “The Son of Man will be delivered into the hands of men; they will put him to death; and three days after he has been put to death he will rise again,” but the ambitions of the disciples could not let them understand what he was saying, and that’s how our ambitions deters us from understanding the mind of God.

Moreover, they were busy arguing who amongst them was the greatest. So, their ambition were all about their pride: who is to be the first? It’s not just about being first, but in their minds, it’s about being first in the earthly Kingdom which Jesus was about to inaugurate because they lacked the proper understanding.

If they were to pray in such state, the foundation of their prayers would be: “who was the greatest amongst them?” They would each pray to be made the greatest; a ruler.

Hence, Jesus instructs them in order to purify their desires:

“If anyone wants to be first, he must make himself last of all and servant of all. He then took a little child, set him in front of them, put his arms round him, and said to them, ‘Anyone who welcomes one of these little children in my name, welcomes me; and anyone who welcomes me welcomes not me but the one who sent me.”

A child is like a servant; a child is always willing to serve in pure heart. Jesus Himself says,” he must make himself last of all and servant of all.” Here is the connection between childlikeness and service.

Therefore, the main key to God’s Heart is service. If we want and must get things from God, our petitions should be done in the spirit of service because, Jesus came to serve the Father and humanity, and he had everything needed for it. Similarly, anyone who asks in such spirit of service shall get whatever he or she wants. To serve moreover requires faith in such endeavor.

Anyone who asks contrary to such spirit would rarely be heard for God knows that it’s in service to one another that humanity thrives spiritually and physically. That’s why all commandments were summarized into the love of God and love of neighbor.

Therefore, whenever you ask something from God, search yourself to know from which desire you are asking because “why you don’t have what you want is because you don’t pray for it; when you do pray and don’t get it, it is because you have not prayed properly, you have prayed for something to indulge your own desires” :envy, domination and power, covetousness, greed, lust, idolatry, vanity, selfishness licentiousness, promiscuity, anger, etc, instead of the desires for service.

But as “you haven’t got it; so you are prepared to kill. You have an ambition that you cannot satisfy; so you fight to get your way by force,” but God upholds our life.

Brothers and sisters, always search the desires beneath your prayers to God. God sees the heart too.

The interior desire of Service to God and humanity is the fastest Key to God’s Heart; to getting our petitions answered.


-Fr. Henry Charles N. Umelechi

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