Jesus told his disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary. He said, "There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being. And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, 'Render a just decision for me against my adversary.' For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, 'While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.'" The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?"
I am generally a persistent person, but I am also pretty good at the whole Catholic guilt thing. So, while in worldly things, I can be persistent to a fault, I always feel guilty asking God for things, especially repeatedly. In fact, I have gone through periods in my spiritual life where I think, Why bother to ask for anything specific at all? God knows what is best for me, and I want His will. How can I presume to know for what to ask?
My beloved pastor, who by the way is undergoing treatment for some unidentified mass on his lung - please say a prayer for him, spoke to our Mom's Group last spring, however, about this very dilemma. He said that St. Thomas Aquinas said that there are three types of prayer requests. There are those God will grant whether we ask for them or not. There are those God will only grant if we ask Him. And, there are those God will not grant us, because he has something better in store.
So, like the persistent widow in the Gospel story, we must ask God for what we want. He wants us to trust our desires to Him. That act, in itself, is such an act of faith and hope, that He will often pour out graces upon us from His heart of compassion. He thirsts to hear the cries of our souls, because those prayers prove an undying devotion to His will.
Do I ask God for specific things I want? Do I ask for the healing of family members or friends? Do I ask for a parking spot not too far away? Do I ask for the conversion of people I know? Do I ask for enough money to last the month? Do I ask for a move or job opportunity? Do I ask to find a lost book? Do I ask for only the big things, or do I entrust the details to God, as well?
Do I repeatedly ask God for the same things, or do I give up after only a few tries? Do I pour out my whole soul and heart in supplication for my simplest desires? Do I kiss the feet of Jesus, submitting to His perfect will? Do I feel guilty asking God for things? If so, do I consider how that makes God feel?
Today, make a list of some things you want, some desires of your heart, some big, some little, and put it away for a few months. Then, take it out again and see what God has done for you!