Of confidence in our prayers.
Another condition which must accompany our prayers is, a firm confidence that we shall obtain the object of our petitions, if it be conducive to God's honour and glory, and to our own sanctification. "Blessed is the man," says holy David, "that trusteth in Thee ; .... mercy shall encompass him that hopeth in the Lord."3 "Ask," says St. James, "in faith, nothing wavering." [James i. 6] The promise of our Saviour is the sufficient reason for which we must have a firm confidence in all our prayers, for He has engaged His word, that, whatever we shall ask of His Father in His name, it shall be granted to us. "Amen, I say to you, whatsoever you shall ask from My Father in My name, it shall be granted you." [John xiv. 13] Let us, then, approach to God with a filial confidence, for "no one ever hoped in the Lord and was confounded." Though indeed we ought to be filled with confusion when we think of our own unworthiness, yet the consideration of the goodness of God, of the promise of our Saviour, and of the merits of His sacred passion and death, ought to inspire us with the greatest confidence, and fill us with the liveliest hope.
This confidence that we shall attain the object of our petitions, through the infinite mercy and goodness of God, is absolutely necessary to the good success of our prayers. This is clearly proved by the doctrine of Christ, who, when exhorting us to pray, urges us to do it with confidence, saying, "All things whatsoever you shall ask in prayer, believing, you shall receive." [Matt xxi. 22] "All things whatsoever you ask when you pray, believe that you shall receive, and they will come unto you." [Mark xi. 24.] Hence the Apostle St. James compares those persons who pray without confidence, to the waves of the sea, which are always agitated; and expressly declares, that such persons will never obtain the object of their petition. [James iv. 6.] And St. Augustine says, that * when the confidence fails, then the prayer also loses its value.' Si fides deficit, oratio perit. [Serm. xxx.]
As the confidence with which we ought to perform our prayers is not founded upon our own justice or merit, but simply on the mercy and goodness of God through the merits of His beloved Son our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, who has promised to grant our petitions, so also we must never allow it to be diminished on account of our sins and imperfections, however great they may be. But the more weak and sinful we feel ourselves in the presence of God, the more ought we to approach with firm confidence to the throne of His mercy, beseeching Him to look down upon us with pitiful eyes, and to deliver us from our miseries.
Taken from - The Way to Heaven. A Manual of Devotion. By The Very Rev. John Baptist Pagani.