Conditions for Successful Prayer – Part 3 of 3

Father Girardey concludes his discussion of five conditions or qualities of prayer that are pleasing to God. Here he mentions the qualities of praying with confidence and perseverance.

Confidence is an essential condition of a good prayer. . . . God is our most loving Father; He delights to confer favors upon us. . . . We should, therefore, pray to Him with a true and simple, childlike confidence. Is He not the best and most loving and liberal of fathers; is He not almighty, infinitely good, Truth itself, and most faithful to His promise? . . . Should not our confidence in God be, therefore, boundless and firm, in God who loves us as His favorite children, who is all-powerful and perfectly able and willing to grant all that we ask properly? He, therefore, who, when praying to Him, wavers in his confidence, ‘should not think,’ says St. James (1:6), ‘that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.’ We need not, then, be astonished if, when we pray to God without due confidence, our prayers are not granted.”

Perseverance is absolutely necessary to the success of our prayer. To show us the necessity of persevering in prayer our divine Saviour related several parables, such as: the man who went to borrow three loaves of bread from his neighbor, the poor widow claiming justice from an unjust judge, and we have also the fact of the Canaanite woman’s persistent pleading with Jesus for the cure of her daughter. . . . . ‘God,’ says Pope St. Gregory, ‘wishes to be asked, to be, as it were compelled and overcome by our importunity.’ . . . Moreover, God defers and even seems to refuse to grant our prayers, in order to test our earnestness, our sincerity; if we ask once or twice only, and then cease to pray, it is a proof we do not deserve to be heard, for then we are not in real earnest or very anxious to be heard; he who feels great need of a thing wants it by all means, and will persevere in asking for it and trying to get it, until his efforts are crowned with success. . . . Hence St. Augustine says to us: ‘Do not despond and give up praying, for God will surely keep His promise; if He defers granting your prayer, He does not thereby refuse to hear it.’ Let us persevere in prayer, and our perseverance will in due time be crowned.”

Quotations from Ferreol Girardey, Prayer: Its Necessity, Its Power, Its Conditions (St. Louis: B. Herder, 1916).

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