When You Don’t Know What to Pray For

I am stuck. I don’t know what to pray for in this particular situation and it is uncomfortable, to put it mildly. Have you ever been unsure of what to pray for? It’s more than apathy, or not caring about what comes from the situation. I genuinely don’t know what I want from this moment in time.

Let me back up. As you know, Ben is in the military which means we move a fair amount. Actually, we have moved less often than many of our peers. This has been a blessing but it’s catching up with us for Ben’s career. We are looking at another move this coming summer, putting us at a brief 2.5 years in Kansas compared to the 4+ in both California and Texas. The upcoming move is poised to be an even quicker turn around. Ben is eligible for a leadership school which is a fantastic opportunity. However, it means we move…somewhere…for a year. Then move again.

From where we stand today, it looks like we have 2 possible options.

  1. Do the move. Pack everyone up, move to a new place for a single year, knowing we will be moving again. The moves would be during the summers, so at least the kids would have some consistency in school. I do not know at this point if we would go back to homeschooling for that year or keep them in traditional school. That’s a whole other issue. But we would all be together.
  2. Don’t move. Ben goes, we stay. The kids can continue at our local parish school which has brought so, so many blessings to our family. They have some continuity with friends, location, activities, etc. We have found so much good here, I am extremely sad to think that this is going to be such a short duty station for them compared to previous. But wow, Ben goes. That means Ben is an airplane ride away (based on the current information we have). He would be able to come home only as we have funds for him to fly, the military will not pay for any of those visits.

So….right. How to pray in this situation. I truly don’t know what I want. I don’t want to move knowing how brief it will be. I do not want Ben to miss the majority of a year of time with us, especially when it’s of our own choosing.

We don’t have to make any decisions yet, and we still need to be informed of where he would be attending school. That particular detail – the location – is going to be a big factor of this decision process. We don’t get to choose that part, however, the Air Force will tell us where we are going. What do I pray for? The locations we would want to move everyone to? The locations we would not?

I’m sure others have been in similar situations. You want to get the job but it means leaving good friends and coworkers. You desperately need a snow day but don’t want to shovel (just me?). Someone has to die for your family member to receive a life-saving transplant. Whether serious or otherwise, there are genuinely times when we just don’t know what we ultimately want to happen.

I have had to step back and recognize that, in the end, it’s not supposed to be about what I want. I want a lot of things, cheesecake and yarn included, but that doesn’t mean I always get them or actually need them. In this particular situation, what I want doesn’t actually matter because I have no influence over the situation. I can’t call up the Air Force and let them know how I desire things to play out. It’s in God’s hands, not mine.

Which means I need to change my prayers. I could say, “I don’t know what I want so there’s no point in praying about it until the Air Force gives us more information, then I’ll think about it.” But this is a lie perfectly planted by the devil himself. St. Paul tells us to pray without ceasing. We shouldn’t put God on hold until x, y, or z falls into place. Or worse, come to the conclusion that God is only worth praying to if x, y, or z happens.

I may not know what I want, but God knows what I need. Instead of praying for what I want to happen, I have been trying to root all my prayers in Jesus’ prayer:

Not my will, but Yours be done

Luke 22:42

This situation isn’t about me, though it affects me. This is bigger. It is about where God desires our family for the next year. The people we will interact with, the blessings we can offer others, the blessings others are called to share with us. By pulling myself back and checking my emotions, I am slowly becoming more peaceful about the phone call that will, fingers crossed, hopefully be coming to Ben soon. Whatever God is calling our family to next will be hard, but I trust it is going to be God’s will for our family. He will continue to provide for us as He always has.

I have only come to this place of peace because of Adoration. We are blessed with a 24-hour Adoration chapel at our parish. Whenever we are at the chapel, aside from Sundays for whatever the reason, Gabe, our 3 year old, asks if we can stop in. We only spend a few minutes, but those minutes add up. No matter the time spent, the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is powerful. I am so thankful for these minutes and that it is Gabe who has drawn me into that quiet space. It was there I felt those simple, hard words resonate within me.

Perhaps what God is calling you to next will be hard. Maybe you don’t know what you want next from a present situation. That just means that He is already preparing the grace you need to shower upon you as you set forth into that new place. Join your voice with Jesus’. Allow your desires and wants to diminish as you gaze upon God’s loving face. As it is Advent, this is a fantastic season to spend time in Adoration. Run to God, open your hands and let Him see you know know what you want next. Let Him remove that burden of choice from you and allow His Will to become your true desire.

Daily Graces. kktaliaferro.wordpress.com

It’s That Time Again – Advent Journals 2022!

Can you believe it’s already one month to Advent. Again!? I always thought adults were so silly in their comments about how “quickly time flies” and “don’t grow up too quickly” but boy were they right! I cannot believe we are already bringing 2022 to a close. Funny side story. I had to fill out the usual paperwork and releases that come with going to the dentist for our kids the other day. I had to re-fill out about half of the papers because I dated them all 2023! Time goes fast enough and there I was jumping a whole calendar year.

Time may fly, but there are things that stay constant. I love how our liturgical cycle moves in a predictable manner throughout the year, gently bringing us along as the seasons shift. The world has its own method of transitioning from one season to another, but it feels more jarring. Each year, holiday decorations seem to appear in the stores earlier and earlier. “Back to school season” was already in full swing by mid-June with Halloween candy on the shelves as the first day of school arrived. So much time is spent in anticipation of the next season that we don’t really get the opportunity to celebrate the present one.

Seasons of preparation are important. We prepare for a big trip, prepare for a school year, prepare for a new baby. The Church recognized the need to take time to adequately prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ at Christmas as well as in anticipation of His Passion, Death and Resurrection. Then, when the Christmas and Easter seasons arrive, we are ready to fully participate in the joyful tidings. Our two seasons of preparation have their own markers, symbols and flair that help us settle into their particular moods and themes.

One of Advent’s big symbols is the Advent Wreath. Thinking back on my own celebrations of Advent, the wreath is always a part of this season of preparation. We had a wreath growing up that sat on the dining table. As our kids have grown, we have mostly made homemade wreaths thanks to The Mass Box‘s Advent box. This year, we have a new wooden wreath I am excited about from Shining Light Dolls (no affiliation with either company, just love the stuff!).

As I was beginning to discern what this year’s Advent journal would be about, I found myself drawn to the wreath. I realized that while each year we light the candles, I don’t actually know that much about what the candles symbolize. As I began to explore, the deeper I was drawn. Around the same time, I was so blessed to be able to review a Gregorian chant CD featuring Advent hymns from the monks at Clear Creek Abby. In the introduction, I was struck by this statement regarding the music:

Out of simplicity there can come music worthy to proclaim the holiness of God.

Rorate Coeli CD – The Monks of Clear Creek

I don’t know if you know my brain, but it likes to take a small idea and blow it up really quickly, usually overcomplicating things. My small idea about an Advent wreath based journal had already become overworked and complex within 30 seconds of conceiving it. This quote pulled me back and God used it as a means of refinement. What follows is a very simple journal, but I hope one that helps you to recognize God’s abundant love and mercy in your life.

As every year, this is a completely free resource. This year, it is not tied to the cycle of readings in any substantial way, so it could be used for any Advent from here forward. While there is space for journaling each day, there are only a few specific writing prompts. Instead, there are carefully selected Scripture passages, saint quotes, catechism references and even a song from which you can draw inspiration to spark your conversation with God. The Advent Candles provide the overarching theme for each week – did you know each candle represents something different to guide our thoughts and prayers during that week?! I knew this someplace in the back of my mind but never really let the candles provide any kind of framework to my Advent season. I am excited to continue my meditations on them as Advent draws near.

There are 2 versions, identical in content, different in layout. There is the 8.5×11 print copy which totals 35 pages. You can of course double side that and cut it in half. There is also the booklet layout which needs only 9 pages. Be sure to check your printer’s settings for printing double sided regardless of layout you select.

Due to the small amount of cited Biblical text in this particular journal, you may print copies to share with friends and family (this is different from other Advent journals on the site. Please be aware of any copyright notices on other downloadable resources). With permission from your pastor, you may share this journal in print form with your wider parish community. As always, you are free to link this post in your bulletin, newsletter, personal social media, etc. so anyone can download and print their own copy.

I hope that this journal offers you some space for peace and rest with God during the Advent season.

Diocesan Gospel Reflection

I don’t know if everyone is aware, but during the past year or so I’ve been contributing to the Diocesan.com website’s daily Gospel reflections. These are written by a number of contributors for every day of the year. Today happened to be one of my days and I have found myself continuing to reflect upon what I was inspired to write. The Holy Spirit seems to want me to share the message of God’s over abundance and generosity when it comes to His creation. Below is what I wrote for Diocesan. If you’re interested in receiving these reflections, the following link will take you to the website and you can sign up from there.


I think we are often afraid to ask God for things. We don’t want to seem greedy or selfish. We want to feel self sufficient and capable. And what person hasn’t heard a comment like, “Well I asked God for patience and He gave me so many opportunities to practice I just couldn’t handle it!”

Yet the apostles in today’s Gospel seek Jesus out and ask Him to teach them to pray. Jesus gifts them the most foundational prayer in Christianity, The Our Father. Jesus then continues, as if this intimate prayer wasn’t already revolutionary enough, and explains further how we ought to approach God in prayer.

Perhaps this is where the revolutionary aspect of the Our Father comes into play. Throughout the Old Testament, God was present with His people, but they could not see Him. The Holy of Holies in the Temple was only to be entered once a year on Yom Kippur. It was the most sacred place, the place where God met His people.

Jesus draws us into intimate communion with God, His Father. We don’t have to wait for a single day of the year, we don’t need a priest to pray for us. Jesus ushers into being a new relationship between God and His creation. Through Jesus, we become God’s children. It is fitting then, that Jesus asks the disciples to consider how a father responds to the requests of his children. If earthly fathers and mothers know how to treat little ones, how much more will God generously give to His beloved children?

Here is the trick, however. God desires a relationship with us. This isn’t a forced situation. In order for God to give, we must turn to Him and ask. And ask and ask and believe and believe. God desires every good thing for us and works all things for our benefit. This does not mean we will not experience trials or sorrow. It does not mean we will magically receive whatever we ask for – it didn’t work with our parents when we wanted that pony when we were 7, it doesn’t work that way with God either.

Jesus shows us the way. Come before our Father as a child, with empty hands. Ask in earnest, with every expectation that what is best for us along our journey to heaven, will be given to us.