Prayer must include praise, thanks, pope says

VATICAN CITY — Prayer should not center just on asking God to fulfill one’s hopes and desires, but must include praise, thanks and trust in God’s plan which may not match one’s own, Pope Benedict XVI said.

The way Jesus prayed to his Father “teaches us that in our own prayers, we must always trust in the Father’s will and strive to see all things in light of his mysterious plan of love,” he said during his weekly general audience Dec. 14.

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Editor’s note: 1-Give God thanks and praise; 2-Tell God you’re sorry for your sins and promise to try to do better, in the future; 3-Ask for what you need, in as much explicit detail as possible; 4-Believe you will indeed receive for what you have prayed … otherwise, what’s the point of faith; 5-Repeat, as necessary.

This process is designed to help us align our fickle, fallible, human will with God’s perfect will and plan. Since God certainly knows his own mind, and he already knows precisely what we need, long before we typically manage to discern it, the results of prayer are invariably positive, even if we might initially fail to recognize how or why that can be.