Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.Mark 11:24
In November, Sr. Mary Gianna of the Disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ spoke at the Newman Center at SRU. With the other leaders and members of Rock Catholic, I listened with awe as she told her incredible testimony and assured us that God has a plan for our lives. Early in her talk, she used a phrase that I’ve never heard before, and it truly changed my prayer life.
“Pray with expectant faith.”
I couldn’t stop contemplating what this meant, and even today I meditate on what it means to pray with expectant faith. As I prayed and wondered and racked my brain, it was revealed to me. To pray with expectant faith means to pray with enough faith that you truly believe that your prayers will be answered. It’s one thing to casually think that your prayers will be answered, but it’s different to pray and believe that God is going to answer your prayers. I know it might seem demanding, dare I say entitled, to expect that God will answer your prayers, but he wants to answer our prayers! He’s just waiting for you to ask, and he’ll happily answer you according to his will.
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Even though Advent and Christmas are both over now, I want to revisit Advent to discuss how one little chaplet deepened my prayer life so much during this time. Before Advent, I was contemplating what it means to pray with expectant faith while looking for ways to make Advent more fruitful for me. While scrolling through Instagram, I stumbled upon one of my favorite Catholic artists, Outpouring of Trust by Monica Skrzypczak. She had just released her new St. Andrew Christmas Novena Chaplets, and they were gorgeous. After reading the caption, which not only educated me on the Novena but spoke to my soul, I was sold. “It is piously believed that any request will be answered, and without a doubt, it WILL prepare your heart for Christmas amidst all the chaos of the season.” I knew that praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena would give me the opportunity to pray with expectant faith and transform my Advent.
I prayed the St. Andrew Christmas Novena every morning, as soon as I woke up, from November 30th to December 24th. It was the first Novena that I was consistent with the whole time; I didn’t skip any days! As I grew in expectant faith by praying the Novena, I genuinely believe that my intention will be answered. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I had a big prayer intention. I have yet to see that intention come to fruition, but I still believe that it will. Praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena gave me the grace to grow in faith throughout Advent. It helped me to complete the 33 Days to Morning Glory Marian Consecration, and it inspired me to deepen my prayer life by praying the rosary more often and focusing more on its mysteries. Even now that Advent and Christmas are over, I continue to deepen my prayer life through the rosary, going to Daily Mass or reading the Mass readings, and more.
Sometimes we don’t see the fruits of our prayers right away. I’m still not sure if my big prayer intention was answered yet or if it’s still in the works. However, this fact shouldn’t discourage us from praying! Not seeing the fruits of our prayer doesn’t mean that our prayers “don’t work,” and seeing them fulfilled in a different way doesn’t mean that praying for a specific intention is useless. Although I’m still hopeful that I’ll see my big intention fulfilled, I’m grateful that praying the St. Andrew Christmas Novena gave me the push that I needed to grow in prayer and taught me how to pray with expectant faith.