Father Geiermann discusses the essentials of prayer of petition. He writes: “It always includes three things: the raising of the mind to God, the presenting of a petition, and a reason for invoking the divine aid. . . . Our request for help may be expressed in the form of a simple petition, which begs for a definite grace; in the form of a supplication, which begs for help in general; or in the form of an obsecration, which states the reason why the request should be granted. Our reasons for venturing to present our petitions for help are the holiness, goodness, mercy, and promises of God, the merits and promises of Our Saviour, the intercessory power of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of the angels and saints, and the gratitude we have shown God for favors received.”
“According to St. Thomas [Aquinas] piety and perseverance must characterize our prayer. Piety teaches us to mistrust ourselves in all humility and place our confidence unreservedly in God, while perseverance keeps us praying for grace after grace until we finally receive the grace of perseverance, the grace of a holy death, and the crowning grace of the Beatific Vision.”
“Taken in this general sense of asking God’s help, prayer is the universal means of submitting ourselves to the divine influence and of uniting ourselves to Jesus Christ. As such it is absolutely necessary for salvation. This truth is brought home to us very forcibly by St. Alphonsus, the Doctor of Prayer, when he says: ‘He that prays shall be saved: he that neglects prayer shall be lost.'”
Father Geiermann advises: “In our prayers or petitions we should seek light, humility, patience, fraternal charity, a good death and eternal salvation, but above all the love of God and holy perseverance.”
Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).