Praying on Particular Occasions

Father Girardey continues his discussion of when one ought to pray. Here he mentions particular occasions which call for prayer.

He writes: “There are circumstances in which we would be bound at once to pray, and even to pray many times during the day, such as, whenever and as often as a violent temptation to sin arises and assails us, or we are in danger of death, or have to receive a sacrament.”

“We should pray also in all our afflictions, troubles, trials, pains, crosses and sufferings, in all the dangers we meet with, and implore of God, patience to bear them, and holy resignation to His will in our regard, so that they may be profitable to our salvation as a means of atoning for our sins and laying up for us treasures of merit in heaven. Let us in all our wants with a childlike confidence ask our Father in heaven to come to our relief.”

“Whenever our prayers have been heard, whenever God has bestowed any benefit upon us, let us not fail in the duty of gratitude for His bounty in our regard. This will render us pleasing to God and draw further benefits upon us.”

“We should pray whenever we receive a sacrament, or when we are in church, not only during divine service, but even at other times, especially if the Blessed Sacrament is therein.”

We should pray before meals, asking God to bless us and our food, and after meals, thanking Him for providing us with food and other benefits, according to the command: “When thou shalt have eaten, . . . take heed diligently lest thou forget the Lord” (Deut 6:11-12), and “For all these things bless the Lord, that made thee, and replenished thee with all His good things” (Sir 32:13).

We ought to pray before beginning work, as St. Ambrose teaches: “We can follow no better order in our employments than to begin and end them with God.” By doing this, notes Father Girardey, we sanctify our work and “lay up treasures in heaven” (Matt 6:20) of which no one can deprive us.

Thus, “we ought to raise our heart to God from time to time during the day either by renewing our good intention or by some short prayer.”

“Finally, if there is a time when we should pray, and pray most earnestly, it is when we are in danger of death, and about to appear before the divine Judge to give an account of our whole life.”

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

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