My last post was inspired by the sense of unease I’ve always had with competing prayers: prayers for snow and ice, prayers for no snow and ice, prayers for the tornado/hurricane to turn away from your home (which means turning toward someone else’s), etc. My friend Fr. Dennis Schenkel was thoughtful enough to write a response that’s too good not to share. So, with his permission, here it is. I hope you find it as enlightening as I did.
The purpose of prayer is not to change God. The purpose of prayer is to change US. God is unchanging, always perfect in love, perfect in mercy, perfect in wisdom, perfect in Truth. It is we who are not. So if I’m praying for Notre Dame in the big football match against Texas Christian, and someone else is praying for TCU, we are not actually swaying God one way or the other. What we are doing is conditioning our souls to rely on God by bringing him our concerns and worries, even over trivial matters like the outcome of a football match. That full comprehension of our complete dependence on God is what prayer is for.