3.6 Why is there no answer when I pray?
Sometimes it may seem as if God does not answer when you pray. Still, God answers all our prayers, even though he does so in his own way. Sometimes we are not praying the right way, or we ask for the wrong things.
If we entrust ourselves to God in everything, we can be confident that the outcome of our prayers fits into his plan. Prayer is primarily an expression of your relationship with God. You can really trust God and be sure that he listens to our prayers.
What happens if you find that prayer does not help?
Prayer does not seek superficial success but rather the will of God and intimacy with him. God’s apparent silence is itself an invitation to take a step farther—in total devotion, boundless faith, endless expectation. Anyone who prays must allow God the complete freedom to speak whenever he wants, to grant whatever he wants, and to give himself however he wants.
Often we say: I have prayed, but it did not help at all. Maybe we are not praying intensely enough. The saintly Curé of Ars once asked a brother priest who was complaining about his lack of success, “You have prayed, you have sighed … but have you fasted, too? Have you kept vigil?” It could also be that we are asking God for the wrong things. St. Teresa of Avila once said, “Do not pray for lighter burdens; pray for a stronger back.” [Youcat 507]
Ask the Holy Spirit to make his presence felt in your lives. For me, it was my father who in a special way made me aware of the activity of the Holy Spirit, precisely when I was your age. If I found myself in some difficulty, he would suggest that I pray to the Holy Spirit; and this teaching of his has shown me the path which I have followed to this day. I speak to you about this because you are young, as I was then. And I speak to you about it on the basis of many years of life, lived also in difficult times. [Pope John Paul II, Homily to young people, 26 Apr. 1997]