Not Sure What to Pray for?
Augustine asks: “Why in our fear of not praying as we should, do we turn to so many things, to find what we should pray for?”
Why do we not say instead, in the words of the psalm: I have asked one thing from the Lord, this is what I will seek: to dwell in the Lord’s house all the days of my life, to see the graciousness of the Lord, and to visit his temple?
So that we might obtain this life of happiness, he who is true life itself taught us to pray, not in many words as though speaking longer could gain us a hearing.
Why he should ask us to pray, when he knows what we need before we ask him, may perplex us if we do not realise that our Lord and God does not want to know what we want (for he cannot fail to know it), but wants us rather to exercise our desire through our prayers, so that we may be able to receive what he is preparing to give us.
Augustine encourages us to:
Enlarge your desires, do not bear the yoke with unbelievers.
The deeper our faith, the stronger our hope, the greater our desire, the larger will be our capacity to receive that gift, which is very great indeed. No eye has seen it; it has no colour. No ear has heard it; it has no sound. It has not entered man’s heart; man’s heart must enter into it.
When the Apostle tells us to Pray without ceasing he means this:
Source: A letter to Proba by St Augustine