The Great Means of Salvation


Chapter 2: The Power of Prayer, Section 3

God Is Always Ready to Hear Us

St. Bernardine of Siena says that prayer is a faithful ambassador, well known to the King of Heaven, and having access to His private chamber, and able by his importunity to induce the merciful heart of the King to grant every aid to us His wretched creatures, groaning in the midst of our conflicts and miseries in this valley of tears. "Prayer is a most faithful messenger, known to the King, who is used to enter His chamber, and by his importunity to influence the merciful mind of the King, and to obtain us assistance in our toils." Isaias also assures us, that as soon as the Lord hears our prayers, He is moved with compassion towards us; and does not leave us to cry long to Him, but instantly replies, and grants us what we ask: "Weeping, though shalt not wee; He will surely have pity upon thee: the voice of thy cry as soon as He shall hear, He will answer thee." [Is. 30: 19] In another place He complains of us by the mouth of Jeremias: "Am I become a wilderness to Israel, or a lateward springing land? Why then have My people said, we are revolted, and will come to Thee no more?" [Jer. 2: 31] Why do you say that you will no more have recourse to Me? Has My mercy become to you a barren land, which can yield you no fruits of grace? or a cold soil, which yields its fruit too late! So has our loving Lord assured us that He never neglects to hear us, and to hear us instantly when we pray; and so does He reproach those who neglect to pray through distrust of being heard.

   If God were to allow us to present our petitions to Him once a month, even this would be a great favor. The kings of the earth give audiences a few times in the year, but God gives a continual audience. St. Chrysostom writes, that God is always waiting to hear our prayers, and that a case never occurred when He neglected to hear a petition offered to Him properly: "God is always prepared for the voice of His servants, nor did He ever, when called upon as He ought to be, neglect to hear." And in another place he says, that when we pray to God, before we have finished recounting to Him our supplications, He has already heard us: "It is always obtained, even while we are yet praying." We even have the promise of God to do this: "As they are yet speaking I will hear." [Is. 45: 24] The Lord, says David, stands near to every one who prays, to console, to hear, and to save him; "The Lord is nigh to all them that call upon Him; to all that call upon Him in truth" [that is, as they ought to call]. "He will do the will of them that fear Him; and He will hear their prayer and will save them." [Ps. 146: 18] This was it in which Moses gloried, when he said:

"There is not another nation so great, that has gods so nigh them, as our God is present to all our petitions." [Deut. 4: 7] The gods of the Gentiles were deaf to those who invoked them, for they were wretched fabrications, which could do nothing. But our God, Who is Almighty, is not deaf to our prayers, but always stands near the man who prays, ready to grant him all the graces which he asks: "In what day soever I shall call upon Thee, behold I shall know that Thou art my God." [Ps. 55: 10] Lord, says the Psalmists, hereby do I know that Thou, my God, art all goodness and mercy, in that, whenever I have recourse to Thee, Thou dost instantly help me.