The Power and Promises of Prayer

August 20, 2021 • 5 min

From St. Joseph’s Life, Virtues, Privileges, Power, page 333
By Very Rev. Archdeacon Kinane, P.P.

“Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For everyone that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh, findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened” (Matt. vii. 7,8).

“Amen, amen I say to you, if you ask the Father anything in my name he will give it to you” (John, xvi. 23).

Consider that to overcome ourselves, the world, and the devil, is no doubt difficult for poor fallen man.

To hate ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Christ, would seem almost impossible to frail humanity.

To forgive, nay, to love our enemies, to do good to them that hate us, and to pray for them that persecute and calumniate us, appears even harder still.

Before this mighty task we might well sit down and faint in despair.

But God has come to our aid and has given us the means by which success is assured. The means is prayer.

In the Old and New Testament God Almighty has promised over and over again that He will give us victory if only we ask it.

Deep reflections upon these promises of God cannot fail to impress upon the mind the greatest confidence in prayer.

In the Old Testament God says:

“Cry to me and I will hear thee” (Jer. xxxiii. 3).

“Call upon me in the day of trouble, I will deliver thee” (Ps. xlix. 15).

“Turn to me and I will turn to you, saith the Lord of Hosts” (Zac. i. 3).

“For thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon thee” (Ps. lxxxv. 5).

“Thou hast gone astray after many lovers, but return to me and I will receive thee” (Jer. iii. 1).

The Prophet says to the sinner, “Weeping thou shalt not weep, he will surely have pity on thee at the voice of thy cry, as soon as He shall hear he will answer thee” (Isa. xxx. 19).

“As I live, saith the Lord God, I desire not the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways: and why will you die, O house of Israel?” (Ezech xxxiii. 2.)

One text more for the poor sinner. “Come and accuse me, saith the Lord: if your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow, and if they be as red as crimson they shall be white as wool” (Isai. i. 18).

We shall confine ourselves to a few texts from the New Testament.

“Ask,” says our Blessed Saviour, “and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asketh, receiveth: and he that seeketh findeth: and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened” (Matt. vii. 7,8).

In the Gospel of St. John we find the following texts:

“Whatsoever you shall ask the Father in my name, that I will do: that the Father may be glorified in the Son” (xiv. 13).

Again, “Amen, amen I say to you: if you ask the Father anything in my name, he will give it you. Hitherto you have not asked anything in my name. Ask, and you shall receive, that your joy may be full” (xvi. 23).

From these texts we see that God Almighty has pledged Himself, has pledged His Divine Word to help us in our wants, to support us in our needs, to hear us when we pray to Him.

God cannot deceive, nor be deceived. God cannot, like man, break His word or promise. “God is not as a man that he should lie, nor as the son of man, that he change. Hath he said then, and will he not do?” (Num. xxii. 19).

A deep and thoughtful reflection upon the above texts cannot fail to impress upon the serious Christian the greatest faith and confidence in holy prayer.

The sinner cannot excuse himself to God by saying I was weak; God had promised to make him strong.

He cannot say, I was frail; he had God’s right arm ready to support him.

Nor can he say, the temptation was too strong for me, therefore I fell; for God has promised to allow no one to be tempted beyond his strength.

The sinner’s fall and fault is all his own.

The excellency of the school stamps its mark upon the scholar. St. Joseph, brought up in the school of Jesus Christ Himself, knew to perfection the power and efficacy of prayer.

Prayer and perfect correspondence with grace exalted St. Joseph in sanctity beyond that of any other Saint of God except the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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