Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who ask, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (Mt 7:7-8)
Why did Jesus have to remind us to ask? He reminds us to make prayers of petition because asking requires faith that God can really answer prayers. I am very good at remembering to pray for big lofty goals: world peace, an end to hunger, an end to abortion, etc. But I cannot count the times that I have been dithering about something—sometimes a big dither and sometimes a small dither—and suddenly I hit myself up side the head like a V-8 commercial and say, “Oh yeah. I should pray about this.” There is no task that is too big or too small for God. Whether it is picking out a Christmas gift for the in-laws or finding the right words for an errant child, God will help if I ask. I just wish I could remember to ask before I worked myself into a worried frenzy.
Pope Benedict XVI has some interesting words on this idea of asking for God’s help in today’s reflection from Journey to Easter:
Today we are seeing a revival of gnosticism, which perhaps is the most somber threat to the spiritual and pastoral work of the Church. Gnosticism allows of retaining the time-honored terminology and ceremonial of religion, the aura of religion, without retaining faith. And this is the profound temptation of gnosticism: it is nostalgia for the beauty of religion but it is also weariness of the heart, which no longer has the strength of faith.
Gnosis presents itself as a refuge where religion can continue after faith has been lost. But behind that flight stands almost always a faint-heartedness which no longer believes in the power of God over nature, in the Creator of heaven and earth. And so there begins a contempt of bodily things—the body appears exempt from morality. Contempt for the body generates contempt for the history of salvation, to become finally a religious impersonalism. Prayer is replaced by interior exercises, the search for the void as a place of freedom.
I had never really thought about failing to ask God for help as a sign of a weak faith. But it makes sense. If I don’t think God can help me get dinner on the table, do I sincerely believe He is powerful enough to bring world peace?