Does God bargain with men?

Let me explain: I have been seeking a special grace. Particularly what it is shall remain private at this point. It is something that I’ve been pleading for for months now, and, through my own efforts, I’m on the way (I think) to getting it. Last night, coming to a bit of frustration, I told God, “So if you do X, then I’ll make it a point to visit you at the chapel of adoration every week.” Note well that there is no bargaining for the remission of sins involved, for that is an evident mortal sin. Now, we see bargains like this made with God in the Old Testament, the lives of the saints, and in the peasant Catholicism of our ancestors. What would we say about this nowadays? I can’t find a dogmatic answer, so I’m rather looking for an existential answer.

I should note that I asked to see something nowadays (something neither outlandish nor commonplace, that could feasibly happen over the course of my day) if God accepted my bargain. When dealing with another party, one must not assume that your deal will be accepted. I also asked St. Luke, St. Joseph of Cupertino, St. Ann, St. Raphael, and my guardian angel to witness this bargain if it is made. Somehow, though, I get the sense that my guardian angel is telling me that Our Lady advises I try a novena instead

Any thoughts?

I don’t know how to answer. I’m anxious to see what others have to say… By the way welcome aboard bardegaulois :thumbsup:

Jsaldar, Thank you kindly for the welcome. I look forward to some rather lively discussions here.

I don’t think there is anything wrong about asking God to grant you something.However I myself don’t like to promise I’ll do something in return because i’d feel real bad if I failed to fulfill it.But you are not me.But don’t get to discouraged if your prayer isn’t answered.God always hears us but the reasons for not answering are His alone.It does say “anything you ask the Father in my name will be granted”.this quote seems clear to us but we know that God never lies so His meaning must nnot be our understanding.None of us understand God’s mind completely.

If I understand your question properly, G-d does not “bargain” with us…a “quid pro quo” type of arrangement. Rather, He has given us “rules” to live by, and the example of His only Son, who DID pray to Him.

So, our part of the “bargain” is to live as He has directed us, but to ask for his help (there’s that novena) when we think we can’t quite reach the perfect example of His Son (which is always).
So, we must pray, always, for G-d’s help to make our way through this life to our ultimate destination…heaven.

No bargaining allowed or needed; just follow His words and His Son’s example.


I’d heed what may be the voice of your Guardian Angel. But that’s me. Our God is our loving Father and knows that we are but dust (Psalm 103), but I would hate to fall through on any deal with Him.

But perhaps that’s my old view of God still lurking in my consciousness, I come from a rather cold Calvinistic background…

I wouldn’t set up the deal as a bargain, because then you’re putting a price on the glory of God. Treat X as a separate entity that you are striving for.
If God does not wish to give you something, then he will not give it to you. Likewise, if God wishes to give you something, he will give it to you on his own time. Whatever choice he makes is the one that is best for you: not because you willed it, but because he did.
When this whole circumstance comes about in your prayer, don’t even worry about asking for the “special grace”. Ask that God’s will be done, and if he wills it for you, then pray for the patience to wait for it.
Most importantly, the greatest grace you will ever receive is in the sacraments. Whether you like it or not, when you receive the Eucharist, or Confession, etc. you are receiving a million times greater grace than whatever grace you are asking for. Do not judge God too small to grant your request, but do take with prudence that your heart’s desire lies in the mercy of our Lord, Jesus Christ, by power of the Holy Spirit, in the will of the Father, for the glory of God. :thumbsup:

Thanks to all responders.

It’s getting near midnight now, and I’m not likely to see the token that my bargain is accepted. I suppose that that answers my question. However, you are quite correct, Creationlover, that should that still, small voice within which I’ve always credited to my Guardian Angel speak, I’d do very well to listen.

The desire to bargain, I think, is borne through out of a sense of impatience at my slow progress toward a certain goal–that, and something of a desire that this goal more fully inhabit my prayers. Recall, it is devotional activity which I promise. Can God use such things to make us holier? Yes, absolutely. But would it be prudent that we not undertake any agreement that we may not be able to fulfil well, particularly with our final Judge? I’d definitely think so.

So I’ve a few novenas to pray, I suppose. Has anyone else had experience with this sort of thing?

Welcome to CAF. You know, hispanics have something called “Manda”. Which translates to “offer, proposal”. Let me see if I can write my story of what happened to me.

I was looking at doing 12 to 15 years in prison. I knew I was going to get out, but when you have my public defender, the DA and my cell mates all 30 of them telling me no way I was going to, it really weakened my faith. So that night I prayed/asked god to forgive me for my faltering faith and to give me a sign if I was going to be let out. After praying I picked up a paper back novel I was going to read. When I opened it, a picture of Our Lady of San Juan de los Lagos fell out. That was the sign I asked for, I thanked god. And I made my Manda. I said, God If I get out tomorrow I well go and visit Our Lady of the Lakes in Mexico. Well, yep I got out the next day. So a couple of years later I went to Mexico to see our Lady of the Lakes to complete my Manda.

The funny thing about this though was that a few years before, I went to Mexico with my parents and they wanted to take me to see our Lady, but I wanted to hang around with relatives instead. God does have a sense of humor.

Well I hope I made some sense.

God bless

jesus g

I’m with you there, Jesus, ex-votos at shrines, pilgrimages, pious activities undertaken in response to particular graces. I’m sure every parish and every family has a few of those stories. It seems often, though, that these are spontaneous, rather than premeditated, acts of gratitude. Whatever the case may be, though, I think we do well not to neglect these very personal mandas.

Being French-Canadian, I’ve known relations to do much the same thing, and I’ve also seen it among Poles at a traditional Polish parish in which I used to hear Mass. Where people aren’t far from their roots, customs like these seem rather widespread.

Well, midnight came and midnight passed without the sign of acceptance of my contract, so I suppose it is a moot question–and upon reflection, not the best of ideas. To the novenas it is!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit