“Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and it will be opened to you… If you, with all your sinfulness, know how to give good things to your children, then how much more will God give good things to those who ask.” – Mt. 7, 11

Jesus makes clear in the Gospel that when we ask for things from God, it first says something about God (God is trustworthy, God is listening, God cares), but it also says something about our present state and ourselves. How can we hear both?

It is said that we only ask for what we have already begun to experience. Otherwise it would never occur to us to ask for it. Further, God seems to plant within us the desire to pray for what God already wants to give us, and even better, God has already begun to give it to us! We are always just seconding the motion, but the first motion is always and forever from God. The fact that we prayed at all means God just started giving to us a second ago. He makes a further point that if we, “with all of our sinfulness,” would not fail to respond to another, then how much more God.

God is always much better than the most loving person we can imagine, Jesus is saying. It is not that we pray and God answers. It is that our praying is already God answering within us and through us.

Merciful and loving God, thank you for your Holy Spirit who prays through us with what cannot be put into words when our own words are inadequate. (Rm. 8:26)

Adapted from Richard Rohr