Pater, I feel that God doesn't love me. Everyday is prayer said to God that He will help me love Him and help me follow my vocation. God doesn't act like the father in the story of the prodigal son. He does not act like the awesome father the Church talks about. Could you please explain why this is so?

ANSWER: If you are praying to God expecting that your prayer in some way is going to change or move God, or otherwise bend God to your will and your wants than I can understand why you would feel the frustration you do.

God's love for us is not measured in the manner He answers our prayer.  In other words we cannot determine God's love for us based on whether or not He answers prayer the way we want Him to answer our prayer. The kind of Father God is is not measured in the manner He answers our prayers.

Often times the things we want the most turn out to be the things that harm us the most.  God is concerned with only one thing: our salvation and the means of achieving that end. God is not concerned with our material comforts so much, nor is God concerned that we have everything we want or think we need.

If we are sick with a dreadful disease for example we often pray for God to let this cup pass because we cannot see beyond the disease to God's plan for us.  God who CAN see beyond the disease and beyond the present moment allows us to suffer the disease because God knows in the long run not to do so would harm us.

You do not give me much information on why you feel or think you do, but based on what you do provide, and based on the most common spiritual issues I encounter, I might suggest your problem might be in HOW you are going about prayer, and the expectations you are putting on God.

If you are having problems, or some kind of "need" that you feel God is not responding to, try praying that God will reveal his presence and power in the midst of that.  Real prayer is about finding God in ALL aspects of our lives. Real prayer is about discovering the presence of God in our joys and in our sorrows.  Real prayer is not about changing God's will, but allowing God to change us, and work on our hearts.  Real prayer is about submission to God and God's plan. Real prayer is simply resting in God's presence.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Dear Father, are you saying that if we pray the only things we can be sure of is that God will lead us to Heaven? I hope I didn't misunderstand you.

I think that is a good way to sum up the purpose of prayer, but that is not all I was saying.

It is true that the one prayer we can be certain God will grant and answer is a prayer for the graces of salvation.  God may or may not grant all our other prayers, and we must be content with that, or at least find a way to deal with it.

What we can be sure of is that IF God chooses not to grant a prayer, God has good reasons for doing so.  If for example we find ourselves suffering from some terrible disease, God has good reasons for permitting us to suffer.


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Father Dave Bechtel


I am a Catholic priest in good standing and in active ministry in the Diocese of Scranton PA. I can answer most any question about the Catholic Faith, however my area of specialization is Systematic Theology. Systematic Theology is a branch of theology that focuses on the fundamental tenants of the Faith and the Dogmas of the Faith. I have specialization on the Reformation and Catholic vs. Protestant theology/issues and answering Protestant challenges to the Faith.


I was ordained in June of 2008. Since that time the thrust of my ministry has been specialized. In my first assignment I was an assistant pastor. A year later I was sent to work in education. I spent six (6) years in education and have now assumed my first pastorate. While education was the thrust of my ministry, nevertheless I continued to have a hand in parish ministry, hospital chaplaincy and prison chaplaincy. Now that I am out of education I will obviously be focusing more on parish work than specialized ministry. I have two years of formal Clinical Pastoral Education and prior to ordination I successfully pursued Board Certification for health care ministry through the NACC. My certification needs to be renewed and I plan to seek dual certification in health care ministry (NACC and APC) when I renew my certification. I have a breadth of experience working with Protestant ministers and collaborating with them to achieve the goals of hospital pastoral care and chaplaincy. These ministers run the spectrum from the liberal to the conservative.

Bachelors of Science-- University of Scranton PA Masters of Arts Theology--- Saint Mary's Seminary and University Baltimore MD Masters of Divinity--- Saint Charles Borremeo Seminary Philadelphia PA Board Certified Chaplain (up for renewal)

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