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Kevin wrote:

Hi, guys —

  • Why do Catholics use prayer candles in their prayers?
  • Also, in the ancient days, did some Christians, when asking God for something, write down what they wanted to happen, then burn the paper, like at an altar, or a place of prayer?
  • And if so, would they have to make a trade or offer something?

I remember a Simpson episode where Bart gets an F and is in danger of repeating the fourth grade. He even asks God to help him, and God makes it snow, shutting down the schools. Bart tried to have fun, but Lisa reminded him of his prayer, and how he "owed God", so he went to study.

In an episode of the George Lopez Show, where George and Max asked God to save their dog,
Mr. Needles, it happened.

I looked online and found other people who asked God to aid them, and he did, and for some, they even made a promise, and when God helped them, they kept their promise.

  • Is there any truth to this?

I have been asking for God's help and to make my prayers come true.

  • Do I need to make a promise?
  • Can you ask others to pray for me?

Thank you for your time.


  { Do we owe God for answered prayers, like what happened to Bart Simpson and why candles? }

Mary Ann replied:

Hi, Kevin —

Catholics do not have any official practice of burning papers for prayer. Catholics have long lit candles to represent their prayers rising to Heaven, and they often make an offering when they do so, as a sacrifice, and to pay for the candle. We should ask God for all the things we truly need, but realize that He is not a vending machine.

We should also trust that God will give us everything that we need. You do not need to make a promise in exchange for your prayer being answered. You may make a promise to God, however, to offer thanksgiving, if you receive what you requested.

Mary Ann

Mike replied:

Hi, Kevin —

You said:
Can you ask others to pray for me?

Sure you can! That's one of the things I like about being Catholic, we develop both:

  • a personal one-on-one relationship with Jesus, while
  • developing our family life in Christ, here on earth.

The two are not mutually exclusive. Here is part of an answer my colleague Eric gave in another posting:

Maybe he is hearing your prayers, and the answer is "no". Perhaps it sounds trite, but as difficult as it may be to endure, sometimes God allows unpleasant things for some purpose, perhaps a purpose we'll never know until we get to Heaven.

Now truth be told, I would doubt that God never listens to any of your prayers.
It may be that you are only praying for a few things God does not, in his infinite wisdom, want you to have.


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