Praying in Mortal Sin


I was wondering if it is alright for one to pray if one is in mortal sin? I would like to pray for someone but I am afraid that might be offensive to God to ask for a favor while one is in a mortal sin. I am still trying to overcome the sins that I am in which is why I am not going to confession until I am ready.

So can someone pray or does that person have to go to confession beforehand?


I’m pretty sure you can pray.
Prayer only strenghtens your relationship with God, not hurts it. Don’t forget that God is all loving, and all forgiving.
Also, prayer will encourage you to go to confession.

Good luck. :thumbsup:


Yes, you can still pray while in a state of mortal sin. I personally would encourage it.


I agree, we need to pray and put our intentions in God’s hands no matter the state of our souls. Of course, if in mortal sin, pray especially that we are forgiven for our sins and that we can confess them asap. Take care and God Bless…


You make an important statement in your post. You are trying to overcome your sins. You are seeking a right relationship with God.
Yes. Pray. Pray. Pray. We do not reach heaven by our own accord, but by the Grace of God. It is that Grace that makes it possible to change. It is God who works within us to make that change, no matter how far away we may feel we are.
Grace is a gift.
By praying for another, you show love. Love is of God. Remember the woman who wiped the feet of Jesus with her tears. Jesus reflected on her love and not her sinfulness.
When we pray for another person, regardless of our personal sinfulness, we take the focus off our self. It keeps us from self pity. We grow in love.
He who abides in love abides in God.
Of course, go to confession for your own sins. Receive the Grace of the Sacrament and the healing that comes through Reconciliation.
Think about it this way. If you had a friend who was hurt or injured would you still take that friend to a physician regardless of how sick and in need you may be. Jesus is the Great Physician. He can take care of more than one patient at a time.


From the Catechism of the Council of Trent:

The Second Degree Of Prayer: The Prayer Of Sinners

Another degree of prayer is that of those who are weighed down by the guilt of mortal sin, but who strive, with what is called dead faith, to raise themselves from their condition and to ascend to God. But, in consequence of their languid state and the extreme weakness of their faith, they cannot raise themselves from the earth. Recognising their crimes and stung with remorse of conscience, they bow themselves down with humility, and, far as they are removed from God, implore of Him with penitential sorrow, the pardon of their sins and the peace of reconciliation.

The prayers of such persons are not rejected by God, but are heard by Him. Nay, in His mercy, He generously invites such as these to have recourse to Him, saying: Come to me, all you that labour, and are heavily laden, and I will refresh you, of this class was the publican, who, though he did not dare to raise his eyes towards heaven, left the Temple, as (our Lord) declares, more justified than the Pharisee.


go to confession and at least confess that you are struggling with giving up this sin–don’t wait till you think you are ready. Go now and seek forgiveness for your attachment to this sin and ask God for the grace and healing to overcome. If we all waited till we overcame our sins then most of us wouldn’t go to confession at all. It is God’s grace through the sacrament that gives us strength to overcome. You only need to have the desire to give up the sin and if you don’t have that desire then confess the sin that of not having the desire to give it up, but get to confession.


Sacraments are grace-giving! Why are you trying to overcome your sin without the grace that you get from a Sacrament?

"If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me."
Psalm 66:18

What is the matter with daily confession, if that is what is needed to gain the grace to help you overcome the sin?

The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately corrupt; who can understand it? "I the LORD search the mind and try the heart, to give to every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his doings."
Jeremiah 17:9-10

Some people wait until they are ready to give up their sin in order to confess it. You need the grace that comes from the Sacraments of Confession and daily Eucharist in order to overcome this sin.

I’d make an appointment today to get back in a good relationship with the Lord.


Trying to overcome sin on your own without confessing it is futile.

“Confess your sins one to another that you may be healed.”

It is in the very act of confessing our sins with our mouths that we find strength to deal with them.

Waiting until you have conquered that sin to go to Confess it would be like an alcoholic waiting to overcome his alcoholism before he attends his AA meeting. Some addicts need their AA meetings DAILY in order to have the strength to avoid the sin that so easily encumbers them.

God be with your spirit.


Remeber the publican.

Besides, there is no sin that prayer cannot forgive, just as there is nothing in earth or heaven that can seperate God from the Christian.


Read Romans, chapters 3-8 for a better understanding of sin, forgiveness, our relationship with Christ, and salvation.


John Augustine,

Keep fighting the fight!

I hope you don’t mind my “fleshing out” of your ideas.



I had never even HEARD of this - that your prayers are either not good or not heard if one is in sin? I never HEARD of it. I’ve quoted the above just to confirm it - but I’d be surprised to have heard that God would not listen to us - no matter the state of our souls - particularly if we do not deny Him. Let’s not forget the words in the Bible, which have become a part of the Mass:

Lord, I am not worthy that Thou shouldst come under my roof.
In Mass - Lord, I am not worth to receive Thee.

Either way, God hears us - what’s more - I believe He’s not only RESPONSIBLE for every breath we take - He listens for it. I’d be shocked to think that God didn’t hear us - no matter what.


Something I forgot to say-
Thanks to DixitDominus for that Council of Trent quote. :slight_smile:


Is it just me, or do Church documents just not read this clearly any more?


A similar question I have always had is if a group of christians are abusing non christians and the heathens cry out to whoever they believe is God does God hear their prayer and chastise his own?


To the OP:

I think it would be better for you to seek your priest’s counsel…maybe not ‘in the confessional’…but privately in his office. I was in a similar situation…I was in mortal sin but didn’t think I could go to confession because I was not truly remorseful. I went to see my priest and told him everything and he gave me some words of wisdom, encouragement, etc. Then he offered to hear my confession, right there in his office. I asked if it was ok even though I felt like I hadn’t truly repented, and he said it was.
Several months later…I did finally feel true regret for my sin…I went to confession again…I’m not even sure it was necessary…but at any rate…I felt like healing could begin.


If you can’t pray when you are in mortal sin, then what use is it to pray at all? In other words, God is present at any time, and especially so to sinners. He seeks you as a shepherd seeks a lost sheep. Prayer however is only a first step in returning to God. Your prayer should prompt you to seek full reconciliation in order to experience the fullness of God’s grace and love. Remember, you can’t even begin to pray unless you have been blessed with grace. It is God who calls you first, who seeks you and awaits your return. Allow your prayer to guide you.


Scripture tells us that God hears the cry of the poor and the oppressed and will surely chastise the oppressors. A better question is if you are one who oppresses, are you truly one of God’s own. As Jesus has told us, his brother and his sister is one who hears the word of God and follows it.


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