I've mentioned before that I am a very slow reader. So, I try my hardest to choose books judiciously- especially spiritual books. My latest subject has been suffering. I read Lewis' A Problem of Pain and Kreeft's Making Sense Out of Suffering. Not that I get suffering, but I understand it as well as I'm going to at this point in my journey.
My next big question is concerning prayer and how it works. I know nothing except that there are different types of prayer: intercessory, contemplative and meditative. I have what I think is a good prayer life. I can speak about how prayer has changed me. It has changed my desires so they are more in line with God's. It's helped me accept His will. It has brought me closer to God, into a more personal relationship with Jesus and it has helped me identify and respond to the workings of the Holy Spirit. The prayer that gave me these graces is probably meditative and contemplative. When I do ask for something, it's always with the caveat, "If it is your will" and "give me the strength to bear this cross if it is not your will."
But, how does intercessory prayer work? If I'm asking for something like a baby or healing, how does God decide who to give a baby to and who to heal? And how is that related to His will? Does he somehow change His will to answer our prayers? Or does he answer our prayers based on what is His will all along?
Instinctually, I'm thinking that I can ask and if it's good for me, He will answer the prayer in the affirmative. If it's not good for me, He will help me bear the cross of Him saying No. He also may use the cross to bring others to Him. For example, by not having another child, I've been able to give more to my students, friends and extended family members when they need help.
Am I totally off base?
What else do you have to add?
Do you have any book recommendations to help me along this part of my journey?
You ladies are so wise and wonderful, I'd love suggestions.
These questions have been brewing for a long time, but in light of our little blogosphere's answered prayers (Matching Moonheads, Perfect Power in Weakness, Hebrews, A Martha Trying to be a Mary) during prayer buddies, I thought I'd ask for your take on all this.
Praise God for His answered prayers and for the new life he has given to the world!