Q. Is it okay to ask God for our preferences, yet praying for His ultimate will in the situation? I just want to be genuine in my heart and in front of God.
A. In every aspect of our lives, we must seek the grace and help of God. Our Lord says, “Without Me, ye can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). In His love for us, God both commands us to pray and ask of Him every good thing and promises that He will give us what we seek, so long as it is needful for our salvation.
It is not wrong to place your desires before God, but more important than this, you must realize the condition of God granting your desire: He will grant only what is needful for your salvation on the basis of His infinite wisdom and love for you. When our Lord submitted to the will of Father in Gethsemane, He did so to give us a pure example of yielding our will to His will.
This is the context in which understand our Savior’s words, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Mt 7:7–8). The Holy Fathers of the Church teach us that we should ask for the Holy Spirit and every virtue above any worldly thing or desire. Doing this ensures we have the proper priority in our spiritual life. At the same time, God knows our desires and grants us what is needful for our salvation as we strive to grow closer to Him.
To summarize, then, it is not wrong to place your desires before God, but only in the context of praying to receive the Holy Spirit and what is needful for your salvation. If God does not grant your desire, you must be in a position to accept that reality joyfully, knowing that God is working for your salvation.