Should We Pray for Our Desires or God’s Will?

How should we pray? Should we just ask God to do His will, or should we ask Him for what we need?

This subject has always been confusing to me. As a Catholic, I understand that the best way to live my life is to constantly seek the will of God in all things. However, the Bible also mentions that it is right for us–children of God–to ask Him for what we want and need. As a matter of fact, in Philippians 4:6, the apostle Paul counsels us to “..not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

Today, God has used Father Dwight Longenecker to bring me enlightenment on this very matter. In his post, The Importance and Power of Prayer, he explained just how important it is for us to pray for both our specific needs and for God’s will. He also beautifully expounded the great power that can be unleashed by joining our will with that of our heavenly Father’s.


  1. I just had to share this reflection:

    Let me show you a good way to ask for happiness, even in this world. It is a way that will oblige God to listen to you. Say to Him earnestly: either give me so much money that my heart will be satisfied, or inspire me with such contempt for it that I no longer want it. Either free me from poverty, or make it so pleasant for me that I would not exchange it for all the wealth in the world. Either take away my suffering, or – which would be to Your greater glory – change it into delight for me, and instead of causing me affliction, let it become a source of joy. You can take away the burden of my cross, or You can leave it with me without my feeling its weight. You can extinguish the fire that burns me, or You can let it burn in such a way that it refreshes me as it did the three youths in the fiery furnace. I ask for either one thing or the other. What does it matter in what way I am happy? If I am happy through the possession of worldly goods, it is You I have to thank. If I am happy when deprived of them, it gives You greater glory and my thanks are all the greater.

    This is the kind of prayer worthy of being offered to God by a true Christian. When you pray in this way, do you know what the effect of your prayers will be? First, you will be satisfied, whatever happens; and what else do those who most desire this world’s goods want except to be satisfied? Secondly, you will not only obtain without fail, one of the two things you have asked for, but, as a rule, you will obtain both of them. – St. Claude de la Colombiere, S.J. –

    • That is certainly a great way to pray. You are both asking for happiness and telling God that his will is what will make you happy. I like this very much.