In the Gospel Jesus teaches us to pray the Our Father, and He tells us that we must persist in prayer, to continue to pester God. And then He gives us very good news, a very consoling piece of information. He says. "Ask, and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For everyone who asks, will receive and anyone who seeks shall find, and to the one who knocks the door shall be opened." (Luke 7:7-8)
The key to this is to believe this, to believe in His promise. That is what Faith is: believing what Christ says. The virtue of hope believes the promise of Christ, hoping for the fulfillment of His promise. If we do not believe, we will not hope and without hope there is despair and we will not be motivated to pray.
That is why some people do not pray because they do not believe and so they do not hope. And when we stop praying, things begin to go wrong. The more we pray, the less anxious we become and we are filled with a greater peace of mind and heart.
God always listens to the prayers of children, because their prayers are unselfish and totally trusting in the fact that God does not lie. When He promised to look after His children, He meant it.
Our Parish priest asked me to instruct a 10 year-old boy for his First Holy Communion. The parents had migrated with three children (two boys and a girl) 18 months previously from the Philippines and had moved in with friends thinking it would only be for a few weeks. The intention was to find a rental place, but finding a place proved to be difficult. Their names were down at every real-estate in the area but nothing became available. So when I first met them they were still living with these friends.
Instructing this 10 year-old was a real pleasure. He was attentive, a good learner, a very good reader and eager to learn. When I instruct children I always insist on the presence of at least one of the parents. My reasoning is that I need the parents to be supportive and practice with the children at home, what they learn during the lesson. The second reason is that many parents have forgotten much about the Catholic Religion or have not learned much. By listening in at the lessons, they also learn or re-learn the importance of the Faith and the duty they have to actually practice it and pass it onto their children.
After a few weeks the mother asked if her 12 year old son could also join in the lessons. She told me that he had made his First Holy Communion 2 years previously and had been to Confession only once. He was almost totally ignorant of this Sacrament so I agreed to teach both boys at the same time.
(By now they had been waiting for a house almost two years.)
Eventually, after a few months of lessons we arrived at prayer. The different ways, and the importance of prayer before and after meals, night prayers, and also after receiving Holy Communion. I told them that after receiving Jesus in Holy Communion, Jesus is so close that He cannot but listen to what we ask of Him. Going through some suggestions as to what they could ask of Jesus, the subject of the house came up. I said to them that they could ask Jesus to find a house for them. "God always listens to children, especially when He can see that you really need it," I told them. The house was not mentioned anymore, and I had almost forgotten about it.
Three weeks later two excited boys told me that they had moved into their new house the day before. "Did you pray to God for this," I asked them. With big smiles they gave me a big "Yes". I send a silent thank you to God for backing me up and for answering their petition. For it was important to them to realize that the Catholic Church teaches Truth, and that God is real, for had He not just given them a house?
Christmas had come and gone and I asked" what did you get for Christmas?" The mother answered, "a new house, there was no money left for presents." And do you know what? Those boys did not care. They understood that God had really given that house to them because they had asked Him and God always answers prayers. Sometimes it is "no", sometimes it is "wait" but in this case it was "Yes!"
If we could only be like these small children and believe like them that God will take care of all our needs. That He is there to help, console, to fix, forgive, to heal and listen. A priest, many years ago gave me very good advice, "You want to complain? Do it to God. You want to gossip? Do it to God. You think things are not fair? Tell it to God. But after you have done all this, listen to Him and wait for His response. Don't tell Him anything if you are not prepared to listen to His answer."