“So I say to you, ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock, and it will be opened” (New King James Bible. Matthew 11:9).
It is much too easy to interpret these words of Jesus recorded in Matthew as referring to God, the mighty vending machine. At the same time, we all know what it is to put some coins into a vending machine and not get what we wanted. We may walk away from the vending machine angry that it took our money and did not give us what we asked; but, I don’t know of anyone who holds a grudge against a vending machine. I have met my share of people who hold a grudge towards God because they did not receive what they asked in prayer. In some cases, their feelings were legitimate. I knew of one woman who just could no longer believe in God because in her mind, God took her husband.
The purpose of prayer is not to get what we want. Prayer deepens our relationship with God and one another. The best answer to prayer we can receive is the grace of God through faith. The grace of God that holds us up when life is too complicated. The grace of God to accept whatever answer we get; even if it is something we cannot understand. We do not have to understand anything. In fact, in most situations we cannot understand it. All we can do is embrace it as our cross that helps us to follow the Lord’s will as we ask, seek and knock so that we may be guided towards God’s will more and more. God’s answer to us in prayer, may be to rely more on God as our only source, and let “things” go.
Br. Anselm Philip King-Lowe, n/OSB