Nature of Prayer
Prayer is incredibly essential in the spiritual life, as it helps perfect the soul and give God the honor and glory He deserves. St. Ignatius of Loyola had a burning love for prayer, and says, “We must speak to God as a friend speaks to his friend, servant to his master; now asking some favor, now acknowledging our faults, and communicating to Him all that concerns us, our thoughts, our fears, our projects, our desires, and in all things seeking His counsel.” Prayer reminds us why we were put on this earth, and makes God seem closer to our hearts, rather than a distant Creator. But because we are human and are so weak, it can often feel like our prayers are not strong enough to obtain from God what we seek.
We pray Rosary after Rosary, worrying that everything we do will never be enough. But if God is our heavenly Father, would He not help us even with prayer? “Our Lord loves you and loves you tenderly; and if He does not let you feel the sweetness of His love, it is to make you more humble and abject in your own eyes," St. Padre Pio reminds us. God understands the hardships of life that we are going through far more than even we do! If He understands all this, would He not understand our want for perfection in our prayers? God fully knows all our desires, and if we desire perfection, He will give us all the means we need to attain it. He has set up ways of intercession for us when we pray, through His angels, His saints, and even Himself.
Remember the Holy Angels
Firstly, prayer can be purified and perfected if we call upon the Holy Angels to help us. We can entrust our intentions to them, who have never sinned, and be confident of their power when they lovingly present them to God. Their tender eyes can implore the Almighty to help us in all the ways we need. The Angels are incredibly eager to help us, so it is a shame we often forget about them in our busy world!
St. John Bosco was very devoted to the Angels and told us, “When tempted, invoke your Angel. He is more eager to help you than you are to be helped! Ignore the devil and do not be afraid of him: he trembles and flees at the sight of your Guardian Angel.” How much more will God, Who already burns with the desire to assist us, have compassion for our souls when He sees them being carried in the arms of the angels to Him?
Call Upon the Saints
We can then call upon the intercession of the Saints. They know very well our struggles since they lived with them, as well. They desire just as much as the Angels to take our prayers to the heavenly throne of Christ. How many friends we have in Heaven that can help purify our prayers! We can also grow in our devotion towards them, depending on what we are asking for. For example, we can strengthen our devotion to St. Joseph if we ask him to help us with our courtship, or St. Philomena with purity. God gives us so many ways to help us perfect our souls. All we need to do is ask, seek, and knock! Oftentimes we feel alone on this earth, unable to attain the perfection we seek. Yet we have so many friends constantly waiting for us to lift up our eyes to them so that they may help us. Let us also never forget the greatest of saints, Our Blessed Mother, Who also waits lovingly for us to call upon Her.
The means of perfecting our prayers is endless, there is no need to ever worry that our prayers are not enough.
Our Supreme Advocate
Finally, Our Lord Jesus Christ came down from Heaven to be our supreme Advocate with His heavenly Father. He shed His Blood, suffered through the worst torments, and emotionally drained Himself to the point where on the Cross He asked God the Father why He had abandoned Him. He did all this to save us, but also because He never wanted us to say that He didn’t know what it felt like to suffer. And in stepping into our shoes in the most loving and self-sacrificing of ways, He merited all we need to be perfect.
Let us then do all we can to place our intentions in the hands of our loving Savior, through the intercession of His Blessed Mother and the angels and saints, and stop worrying so much about the impossibility of being perfect. Perfection is not attained in a day, but by God’s grace can be attained in a lifetime on earth for an eternity in Heaven.
Aids for Prayer
Below are two prayers that can help us begin asking for intercession from Heaven. It is as simple as a couple sentences to ask for great assistance from above:
“Almighty Father, I place the Precious Blood of Jesus before my lips before I pray, that my prayers may be purified before they ascend to Thy divine altar.”
“O Blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech thee, do thou intercede for us at the throne of Divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as thou didst announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through thy prayers and patronage in Heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. Amen.”
God cares for us continuously, and never wants to make it impossible for us to reach sanctity. The devil often tries to persuade us that the will of God is too difficult to follow, since we are so weak. But what are temptations and weaknesses to an army of saints and angels, as well as Our Lady Herself standing in the front victoriously? All things are possible with God (see Matt. 19:26, Mark 10:27). He simply asks that we try.