God listens to all cries and all pleas, and in His Will, He acts for the benefit and salvation of all of us. What we pray for, we may not necessarily receive. But what we will receive from God, in hindsight, will always be the best course for us. God does not make mistakes. He does not forget either.
When we pray for ourselves, we are often deluded by our passions and our spiritual blindness. Sometimes, what material wishes we pray for may actually happen. Those rare moments may be consolations from God in our moments. But yet, many material wants may never materialize, or not in the way we hoped for. It is for our good.
However, when we pray for others, especially others in pain and suffering, there is tremendous power in our prayers because we wish nothing for ourselves, but out of love for others (1 John 4:7), our prayers will be heard and answered.
Fr Tikhon related to us, that there was once a long line of pilgrims waiting to venerate the Holy Vladimir Icon of our Most Holy Theotokos. After the long line of people venerated and left, only a few government officials were left, together with the monks who were to remove the Icon back to the museum. Fr Tikhon told the officials that it was beneficial to venerate the Holy Icon and pray. One police general stepped forward, bowed and venerated, and prayed.
Sometime later, the general would relate that his elderly sister, who broke both legs in a terrible car accident, was to be operated on in hospital, and yet the doctors were afraid she would not survive the operation under anesthesia.
The general prayed before the Theotokos in a whisper, “Mother of God, I don’t need anything. I already have everything. But my sister, she is being operated on tomorrow. I am afraid she won’t make it. Help her!”
The general prayed an intercessory prayer for his sister, not asking for anything himself, that our Holy Theotokos would intercede before our Lord.
And the general’s prayer was answered. The doctors took an x-ray and found that her leg had set itself correctly for recuperation and would not need that dangerous surgery, just a simple plaster cast would do.
Let us always keep our prayers simple and pure, and pray for the sake of others. For in this secular worldly life, how much do we really need?
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.