The mother of the sons of Zebedee approached Jesus with her sons and did him homage, wishing to ask him something. He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered him, “Command that these two sons of mine sit, one at your right and the other at your left, in your Kingdom.” (Mt 20:20-21)
Mother knows best but God knows us even more. Whether it was the prayer or wish of the mother, God did not grant her request because He knew James and John even more than their mother did.
It is good to examine ourselves on our manner of prayer to God. How do we pray? When we pray, what do we tell God? Do we give Him a litany of our request for favors? Do we dictate to God what we want? “God, please give me this and that!” Is our prayer purely about what we want in life? “Mine! Mine! Mine!” “Me! Me! Me!”
Then, it is not a prayer. It is just a mere monologue. We are just simply talking to ourselves and listening to our own voice.
What is prayer? Saint Teresa of Calcutta said, “Prayer is not asking. Praying is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition and listening to His voice in the depths of our heart.”
Prayer is an encounter with God. It can only happen if we truly put ourselves in His presence so we can hear Him in the silence of our hearts.