And if mothers are so sensitive to the needs of their children, how much more the Father and Creator of all mankind must be alert to the needs of His children when they speak to Him in prayer! A mother’s love is a spark compared with the burning furnace of God’s infinite love for us, His creatures. If mothers are so ready to help when they hear their children in need, how can God our Father fail to hear your voice when you cry to Him in prayer?
And all the tender affection He pours out upon countless other souls does not lessen His love for you. His care of the entire universe is insignificant compared with the care He has for your immortal soul.
The state of grace gives power to your soul
Consider the power of the prayer of a soul in the state of grace. By the fact that you are in the state of grace, your prayer has a power over the heart of God that, in a certain sense, is absolute.
Your prayer is the cry of a child to God his Father. For God, in seeing you as redeemed by the Precious Blood of His beloved Son, beholds no longer a mere human creature. He sees instead the reflection of His own divine life, for when you are in the state of grace, your entire being shares in the life of the triune God. Your prayer, then, partakes of that which is properly divine. By grace, you are a member of the family of God, our Father, and you have been given a right to the eternal inheritance of the Beatific Vision.
If you are in the state of grace, your prayer has another claim on God: it is always made in the name of Jesus Christ. You will not, in your own sinfulness, presume to ask, but you speak in the name of Jesus, by His own command. Our Lord Himself assures you, “Whatsoever you ask in my name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.”
When you are in the state of grace, your prayer is assisted by God the Holy Spirit. “The Promise of the Father” dwells in your heart. “The Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unutterable groanings.” The Holy Spirit teaches you how to pray, because He inspires you to ask for what is right. He arouses in you desires that, under His influence, can be helpful to your salvation.
However, for prayer to be meritorious, you must be in the state of grace. Prayer makes satisfaction to God for your sins; it increases sanctifying grace in your soul as well as the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit. Prayer secures from God the help you need, both spiritual and temporal, to live a good and happy life and to save your soul, not by influencing God or by changing His unalterable will, but by fitting yourself to receive the gifts that He has determined from all eternity to grant to you through your prayers.
Prayer is a powerful force that is at your disposal
Jesus taught that through prayer you can ask for every gift, whether it be for the gifts of the Holy Spirit or for the daily bread you need. You can use prayer to storm Heaven and secure its treasures and thus reach the heart of God. Through prayer you can win untold graces and blessings and favors for yourself and for the whole human race.
Prayer wins for yourself and others the things that make life happy and eternity sure. Do not neglect to pray for others. St. John Chrysostom wrote, “We are compelled to pray for ourselves, but the love of our brethren engages us to pray for others also. Now, far more acceptable to God is the prayer that proceeds not from the pressure of our wants, but from the love of our neighbor.”
Use this powerful gift of prayer to win blessings for the world that does not pray, forgiveness for sinners who do not ask for forgiveness, and faith for those who have never heard the name of Christ or who have heard it only to turn away toward worldly pursuits. You can obtain strength and God’s willing assistance for all mankind. Pope St. Gregory writes, “He causes his prayers to be of more avail to himself who offers them also for others.”
You can never be grateful enough to the merciful God, who has given you this power. You can do no less than use this power as readily as He would have you use it. God does His part. He has given you the power of prayer and is willing to hear your prayer. He is able to grant your requests. The only thing that remains for you to do is to use this power of prayer as Christ meant you to use it. Prayer is the key that opens the treasury of God. You have the key. Use it well and often!
Editor’s note: This article has been adapted from Lawrence G. Lovasik’s The Basic Book of Catholic Prayer, which is available from Sophia Institute Press