How to pray for specific intention

Discussion in 'On prayer itself' started by Scolaire Bocht, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. Scolaire Bocht

    Scolaire Bocht Archangels

    Praying for an intention is, apparently, a complicated enough business and most people I think do not know the proper procedure. I know many on this forum know what is involved but I at least didn't until recently enough, when it was explained to me by a friend at a traditional Catholic meeting, and I notice too from some, mild, criticism of what Border Collie has been saying on another thread that others are not aware of these protocols. Also I am just summarizing these points in layman's language so bear with me if I have got it a little wrong.

    1) You state very explicitly your intention. I know that sounds counterintuitive, so hence I have a bad knee and I am praying about that and ask Our Lord to heal me but don't bother saying "I ask you to heal my right knee" etc, because God knows everything and obviously then why specify which knee etc?

    And that is where you would be wrong it seems, you have to be very very explicit. Why? Because it boils down to one of the absolute bedrock principles underlying the Christian view of God, that he always respects our free will, even in prayer. So you have to make the decision to want to heal that knee, you have to say it, exercise your free will in choosing that knee to be healed at this time, and only then can God intervene to help.

    2) For similar reasons you have to be forceful and direct in asking for it. Why? Again because you are solidly asserting your free will, you cannot be too mild and vague about it because if so you are not sending this free will decision properly down the line. So you don't add in to the prayer something like well "I'd like you God to do x or y but only if You think its a good idea, if it fits in with Your plans etc" because thats sending a mixed message, a 'maybe or maybe not' thing which again is diluting your solidly made free will decision that you want x or y. God is going to do nothing in answer to a prayer which is contrary to His grand design so those kind of words are superfluous anyway but as I say weaken the effect of the prayer.

    3) You must have total faith that the prayer will be answered, and to a degree it will get fulfilled in proportion to the amount of blind faith you have that it will be answered. But this amount of faith is difficult to conjure up especially if you have in your mind that 'the doctors said there was no hope' etc, you have to actually genuinely believe in the possibility of a miracle for a miracle to have any hope of happening.

    This is such an important point that the rule is then that you pray only once explicitly for a given intention and then after that when praying on the subject you are thanking God for answering your intention, even if in the real world you can see no sign that the prayer was answered. But nonetheless you need that kind of blind faith, as soon as the prayer was asked it was answered and thats that, every other time you are giving thanks, thats the kind of faith you need to get prayers answered.

    4) You are working through the real world in seeing how prayers are answered.

    This issue can be illustrated by the well known story that during some flood a lady prayed fervently to God that she would be rescued. Then a knock on the door comes and its some guy from the neighborhood hoping to bring her along in trying to wade through the floods but she says no, she will wait for God to rescue her. Then she prays again and some guy with a boat asks her to jump in but no God is going to rescue her and then finally the sound of a guy speaking from a helicopter is heard asking her to tie herself to some rope etc but no she is waiting for God to rescue her. But obviously the answer is that God was working through these rescue services, it wasn't a question of being rescued by a bolt of lightning coming from heaven or whatever, she needed to keep her eyes open for the answer to her prayer to come through the real ordinary world.

    So thats what you do too, to receive the answer to your prayer maybe you have to do something to seize an opportunity say. Hence the healing of a person could come about by an instant miracle or maybe just by tripping across the business card of some great doctor, who knows the genuine cure of the disease. Or say you are praying about getting a job but to receive the positive answer might still mean going out and replying to another ad in the paper or whatever, you don't necessarily entirely wait for your answer to come to you in some supernatural manner, although of course that could happen too.

    So in otherwords there is still an element of "God helps those who help themselves" that you have to throw into the mix, it mightn't help to be too passive in praying for what you want, you have to go out and 'make it happen', as the Americans say, a bit as well. The answer to your prayer might come in the form of an extra wind at your back helping you along the road but only after you have started on the journey yourself.

    5) Then finally, and maybe obviously, its a two way street here in the sense that you have to try your best to be in keeping with God's law before expecting God to help you. Of course God has regard for everybody, and all prayers are important even from the greatest sinner, but nonetheless its obviously better if you make a good effort to abide by the 10 commandments etc. Also the normal prayers, sacraments and fasting can clearly do no harm either.

    I have probably left out all kinds of important points but hopefully I have covered some of the areas that people would not have heard of unless 'the way to pray for an intention' was explained to them.
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2016
  2. "Quis ut Deus"

    "Quis ut Deus" Powers Staff Member

    fascinating Scolaire I had a little experience the other day that I took no notice off (thought I was nuts) which your post now explains, I have been praying and asking for a particular thing for quite some time and have often thought that God was not listening,answering or felt that I did not deserve my request, a few times I have got angry about it and also lost faith I have always prayed the same way and have done penance for my request also in a childish way I have even bartered (if you grant my request Lord I will do this and that) I prayed the other day and ended with my usual quote if its your will Lord not mine, I immediately heard a voice saying "Your not being specific do you want this or not" as i said before I thought I was nuts but wow your post explains it now....
    Border collie, Jeanne and padraig like this.
  3. BrigidK

    BrigidK Guest

    Thanks very much. I'll be putting this into practice straight away!
  4. PotatoSack

    PotatoSack Powers

    Interesting, I was clueless about most of this stuff. I did not know there was a specific way to ask for intentions.
  5. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I am inclined to distrust specific formulas,especially complicated lengthy ones. . God loves us and al lwe have to do is ask. What father , if His son asked for bread would ahnd him a stone? God does not expect us to jump through hoops. All we have to do is ask. That's it.

    I think St James was very wise though.

    James 4:3

    2You crave what you do not have. You kill and covet, but are unable to obtain it. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask. 3And when you do ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may squander it on your pleasures. 4You adulteresses! Do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God? Therefore, whoever chooses to be a friend of the world renders himself an enemy of God.…


    Denise P likes this.
  6. Rain

    Rain Powers

    I was thinking along the same lines as padraig. God is our father. He knows the numbers of hairs on head as well as the concerns in our hearts. If I don't ask 'right', I trust He's going to understand exactly what I meant. Asking God for help isn't about plugging numbers into a formula and whalah, He answers. Personally, I don't think we have to be as specific as suggested in #1 on the list.

    However, as I go over the rest of Scolaire's list, I'm in general agreement. The list reminds us of the basic. Prayers are more effective when we presevere in the asking, have faith in His Goodness, and strive to be holy.
  7. Scolaire Bocht

    Scolaire Bocht Archangels

    I guess you are right, Padraig and Rain, to be skeptical about neatly packaged formulae, nobody has all the answers, and I don't mean for a minute to cut across the importance of many other matters like fasting, particular novenas, forgiving others etc, nor indeed to cut across the simple fact that all prayers are listened to but I thought it would be good to list off some matters that are easily overlooked or are counter intuitive.

    Anyway this lady that I was talking to at the conference (who I tended to believe because her traditional views echoed so much the writings of some modern respected mystics that I was reading also, particularly that of John Gillespie who wrote a small book on how to pray) also mentioned the importance of acceptance of God's will after you have prayed. So you have great, indeed blind, faith that the prayer is answered and you combine that with a kind of joyful acceptance of how the prayer is answered in real life, maybe in His own time or not at all in a way that is visible to you (and again don't let 'a sense of acceptance' translate across into inaction on your part as regards helping yourself, hence the 'make it happen' point above).

    Therefore its kind of a difficult mentality to get into, being forceful, and having total faith that that 'demand' almost is answered, but then total acceptance about what actually happens. I guess its a type of humbleness ultimately.

    The other point I forgot to mention is that if you are going to be forceful like this and assert your free will decision, it follows that the responsibility to get the decision right rests with you a bit. In otherwords you had better be careful what you wish for! You should think it through like you would any other real life decision and only then 'demand' it. You better really need it, or feel that its a very good thing, because you don't know how the prayer might be answered and it could involve some other potential downside or at least challenge that you need to overcome. But don't let that put you off, I am just saying don't make 'demands' on the Man above lightly either!

    Finally there is the obvious point that God is only going to answer your prayer in a way that is in your best long term interest, but that 'interest' might not be very clear to you, lacking as you do God's omniscience. So hence you might feel that it is better for you to be rich but maybe being poor is keeping you humble and helping you to avoid sin. The same might be true of ill health, if you had perfect health you might be very prone to doing some very wrong things, who knows, so maybe the ill health is helping you on the long term project of getting to heaven, which is clearly in your long term interest.

    But, and this is a very important but, you don't let the latter consideration cause you to be too accepting of your/or-somebody-else's illness (or indeed poverty). You don't presume you are a victim soul or something, you fight against illness and ask the Man above to cure it, and have faith that it will happen, but then also acceptance whatever actually does happen.

    I know it seems a bit confusing sometimes but thats the fruits of my research in the area anyway!
  8. Scolaire Bocht

    Scolaire Bocht Archangels

    Thats an amazing story alright Quis, its scary enough getting feedback like that, but also a great grace of course.

    I know the concept seems peculiar - to 'Rain' at any rate - but I have based that point on some respected commentators alright, and Border Collie himself, who in a way was the first to raise it on another thread, is quite a respected source himself.
  9. padraig

    padraig New Member

    Yes its true it can be an optout option, a get out clause.
  10. padraig

    padraig New Member

    I never knew howimprotant prayer of petition is when we pray for each other. But it binds us together and forms deep community. So that what is weakest in our lives makes us stronger. I ahve come to realise that the prayer of petion thread on the forum is the most important of all theo rest puttogether.

    So out of weakness God forges strength.

    2 Corinthians 12:9

    …8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is perfected in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest on me. 10That is why, for the sake of Christ, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.…

  11. It's good to ask but when you give it all the to The Immaculata She points it in the best direction.
  12. "Quis ut Deus"

    "Quis ut Deus" Powers Staff Member

    I spent saturday in Toome at an Eddie Stone healing service it was a great day and very peaceful, two things Eddie talked about struck me, the first was Eddie held his rosary in his hand and proclaimed this is the link the chain to heaven.the second thing was he mentioned that on thursday night Jesus spoke to him saying " leave it all to me, I am waiting why won't they ask, they worry and weather strikes them or disaster hits but they ignore me, Why won't they ask me to take control, I wait but they don't ask, Leave all to me.."
  13. Fatima

    Fatima Powers

    I don't know that there is a perfect way to pray, as communication with God, if it comes from the heart, is what God is pleased with. If we are not praying for the wealth and pleasure of this world then God hears our prayers. Prayer will become the absolute necessity for survival for all soon enough. It is okay to pray for our health and material needs, but all prayer should be prefaced within the Divine Will of God. God does not promise us happiness in this life, only in the next. There are many crosses, but only one way to carry them. One step at a time.
    "Quis ut Deus" likes this.
  14. Dolours

    Dolours Guest

    I do St. Anthony's novena every year, and every year the priest reads out a selection of petitions. Among the petitions read out every year are requests for jobs, promotions, help with paying bills and help with keeping businesses afloat. Jesus told us to ask and we shall receive, so I take Jesus at his word and ask for what I need just like all the people whose petitions the priest reads from the altar. During the novena, we ask St. Anthony's help because his prayers added to ours are bound to be more effective.

    Keep on praying for your needs and most of all trust that God is listening. Providing for your family and keeping a roof over your head is not frivolous. If I were you I would be enlisting the help of St. Joseph who also knew what it was like to worry about providing for his family. Probably unnecessary for me to add this, but don't forget to thank God for your family and all that's good about your life.
    "Quis ut Deus" likes this.
  15. PotatoSack

    PotatoSack Powers

    I would ask God from the heart to provide for you and your family. I would also really examine your life and remove any sin that may be there and wake up every morning seeking the kingdom of God. Adoration would also help a lot and really pour out your anxieties and frustrations to Him and surrender yourself to Him. I believe you are being purified for the storm ahead and He is stripping everything in your life away so you have only Him. I am going through something similar so I feel your pain.
    "Quis ut Deus" likes this.
  16. PotatoSack

    PotatoSack Powers

    Sorry I meant to hit reply. See my reply in the above post.
  17. "Quis ut Deus"

    "Quis ut Deus" Powers Staff Member

    short answer Absolutely ;)

    Mark I read your post and felt as if you had copied a story out of my life book so if it's some consolation you are not alone...As potatosack said "I would ask God from the heart to provide for you and your family. I would also really examine your life and remove any sin that may be there and wake up every morning seeking the kingdom of God. Adoration would also help a lot" .

    I came to the reality one day that I needed to stop and have a good look in the mirror the story of the shepard breaking the lambs leg helped me realise that I needed to get close to God and trust all in him, I found myself prostrated before the blessed sacrament and asking him to take control..I will add you to my prayers stay strong..:)
  18. Thank you for this thread SB, and for your kind words.. I'll slip you the fiver next time we meet!!

    I don't have any cut and dried answers to how to pray effectively, I can only give advice based on my own experiences .

    I would agree though with no 1.) in your summary. When I read it Mk 10:51 came to mind. I often wondered did the blind man think Jesus was blind too, in asking him such an obvious question!
    I do believe one has to be very explicit in what one asks for in prayer, because the Lord loves us so much he totally respects our free will, and needs our permission to do the slightest thing for us.
    I am not going to analyse too much the rest of what you have written other than to say what came to mind in reading it.
    Yes one needs total faith that one's prayer will be answered, faith needs to come from the heart as well as the head and above all it is a gift to be asked for. The question can pop up as to how does one know whether one has received this gift or not? I think the Lord will allow situations in one's life to reveal what gifts he offers.

    Only recently I was asking the Lord to show me if he had given me this gift of faith and a friend asked me to pray along with him for a relative who had a cancerous tumour. We met one eve and proceeded to pray in faith, we had agreed beforehand on how we would pray, in faith I mean! I was doing the praying and he was agreeing aloud. During the prayer I felt led to rebuke the tumour so that it would die. At the end of the prayer we were thanking God for what he was doing and that he would be glorified through the healing... my friend then piped up and said, "Oh please Lord can you heal him," and then continued on thanking him, at those words I felt a sadness in my spirit, and an image came into my mind of a slow puncture in a car wheel. I didn't say anything to my friend at the time because he was very close to the relative and I didn't want to cause any more upset. However, a couple of days later I was talking to him again and felt I should mention it. He said that the moment he said it he felt he shouldn't have and had a similar feeling to me in his spirit. When we ask in faith we need to be specific and decisive.

    On another thread I mentioned about praying in faith without putting in a get out clause like "if it's God's will." To summarise again what I meant: It is not God's will for me to try to guess what is his will, but it is God's will for me to pray in faith, and if I am still unsure whether it is his will or not then I should ask him to reveal his will to me in that particular situation. I feel that is where many people get caught out, they don't ask him to reveal his will.

    Like everybody here I am still learning... and all of the above is part of my own journey.
    Scolaire Bocht likes this.
  19. border collie

    border collie Archangels

    I just happened on this thread and was surprised to see that I had contributed to some of it!

    Just a little story on praying in faith... one of my friends in another country told me of a lady aged 96, he and some others had been praying for. This lady had a life threatening illness and was in hospital. She always had a wish to die at home in her own bed so my friend and his group had prayed and discerned that it was God's will she be healed and were praying in faith for that intention. A few days later the doctors declared her well enough to go home and she died a week later peacefully in her sleep in her own bed!
    In hearing this story it occurred to me that most of us - myself included- would not think of praying for discernment in how to pray for a 96 year old but would have surrounded her with Divine Mercy Chaplets etc
    Jeanne, Scolaire Bocht and Rose like this.

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