If we take Jesus' words (Mt 7:7-12) out of context, we might start to wonder if the "prosperity gospel" isn't right after all. "Maybe if I just prayed harder, and had greater faith, then God would answer my prayers." But the Christian disciple must consider the whole of revelation, and think carefully about the relationship between prayer and divine providence. Clearly, our prayers aren't always answered... at least not in the way we expect them to be. And therein lies the way of the cross. Prayer is not for the purpose of getting what we want, or even what we need. Prayer is the context within which the Holy Spirit shapes the heart and mind of the disciple to be oriented in accord with God's will. Only within this process of grace are our prayers are answered as we expect: for they are not our prayer anymore, but the Spirit's own made through us.
-Given at the St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel (UST-St. Paul) on March 5, 2020.