An argument arose among the disciples about which of them was the greatest. Jesus realized the intention of their hearts and took a child and placed it by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives the one who sent me. For the one who is least among all of you is the one who is the greatest.”
Then John said in reply, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow in our company.” Jesus said to him, “Do not prevent him, for whoever is not against you is for you.”
One of the things that a Catholic sees over the years is an incredible array of different devotion that various people insist IS the devotion you should pray, or that THIS devotion is the one that will finally get your kids or grandkids to church or change the heart of that horrible boss of yours or will bring peace to your friend or finally get the world on the right track.
Then there are all the various prayers and chaplets from the standard Rosary, to the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the St. Michael Chaplet, The Litany of the Saints , the Penitential Psalms and the prayers of various saints.
And beyond that if you go to a divine mercy chapel or to some other place of devotion you will without fail find home made slips with various special prayers that can be prayed on a standard Rosary or various chapelts
In fact I even contributed to this with my own bloggers prayer on my site that went up as soon as my pastor at the time approved it. It goes like this:
Oh God, you who gave free will to your creation, bless those who use that precious gift to blog
May we though this gift of freedom of expression enlighten, entertain and inform our readers, and we ask particular blessing for those who bring your word across the net, that they may faithfully execute your command to make disciples of all nations.
We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.
This situation is amplified by 10 if you write about the church, attend Catholic events or go to any national event. The number of such devotions you are exposed to, involving saints both ancient and modern, miracles long forgotten or new and all kinds of revelations to the point where you realize that not only is God not dead as the left insisted in the sixties but he and the saints still seem to be working overtime for the salvation of souls.
But that leaves the questions on the floor? Of all of these various devotions:
What are the best ones to pray?
Which one are the most likely to be answered?
The answer to both questions is the same: all of them.
In terms of what you should or should not pray, as long as your it is legitimate, unherticial and not forbidden by the Church, ANY prayer, devotion or practice that is the direct worship of God the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit or intercessory in nature asking the Blessed Mother or the saints to pray and intercede with God the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit either directly, is of value and worth encouraging.
The idea is not so which prayers or devotion you embrace but that you regularly pray bringing your devotions to the Lord and make such prayer habitual. It is that regular prayer, whether the liturgy of the hours, a daily rosary or regular adoration or whatever devotion you embrace that will bring you closer to God and if you find you are more inclined to one devotion more than another by all means go with it.
My rule of thumb is the best prayer is the one you actually DO.
As for which prayers will be answered the likely hood God answering any prayer is dependent not so much on the prayer used, but on the following:
Your request being in accordance with the will of God.
If what your praying for is contrary to God’s will, it’s just not going to happen. The desire for God to do our will via prayer rather than the desire of us to accomplish God will through prayer is not only ineffective but is conducive to the Sin of Pride. If we treat our communication with God like the voice taking your order in a drive through we shouldn’t be surprised if we open the bag after leaving and find something other than what we expected.
Your faith in God’s ability to answer your request. Presuming your request is in accord with God will faith is still a key ingredient. Over and over in scripture Jesus notes where faith is the difference between a prayer even by a person “unworthy” (“Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go. The demon has gone out of your daughter.” MK 7:28,29) being granted to a prayer by the worthiest ( Jesus rebuked him and the demon came out of him, and from that hour the boy was cured. Then the disciples approached Jesus in private and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” He said to them, “Because of your little faith. “Mt 17:18-20a ) Just as faith without works is dead, prayer without faith is just words without meaning. It’s worth noting that a sign of faith in prayer is persistence in prayer.
The disposition of the Target of a prayer. This is a function of the freedom God provides us as humans. One of the most common prayers you will run into is someone praying for the conversion to the faith or that someone will find their way to God. These prayers are of great use and can aid a guardian angel in opening doors and opportunities for such repentance but while our guardian angel is always on the job and God never tires of opening doors that lead to his right hand in the end a person has to be willing to take step however small to seize that opportunity, walk though that door or grasp that hand. Furthermore we have to remember it’s not WHEN such a thing takes place but THAT such a thing takes place that matters. So be persistent as the Holy Spirit does the heavy lifting.
So here is my advice: Pray liberally, wait patiently and have faith that while you might not know what God & the Holy Spirit is doing, he does.
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