Praying in the state of mortal sin

Someone told me that there’s no purpose of praying is one’s in the state of mortal sin, because without sanctifying grace, God wouldn’t hear our prayer. How true, is it?

So do you think one should or shouldn’t pray if he/she is in the state of mortal sin?

Mod, please put it in the right sub-forum if it’s not in the right place. Thanks.

This person does not know his theology. Pray, even thou it may be much harder, pray. Mary, the Mother of God, is the Mother of Mercy and even if Jesus refuses your prayer like God refused the prayer of Eliphaz and his two friends (Job 42: 7-11), we always have the Virgin Mary to pray to (Job, therefore, was a figure of the Virgin Mary, in the Allegorical sense).

God Bless

If this were true then God wouldn’t hear our prayers of repentance for starters. Nor would we be commanded to attend the prayers of the Mass when we were in a state of mortal sin either.

Mary to pray to?? Isnt She supposed to be an intercessory?

Yes, to pray to.

What is prayer?

Are you confusing prayer with worship?

Prayer, fundamentally, is petition.

Numbers 22:19

I pray you to stay here this night also, that I may know what the Lord will answer me once more.

Judges 19:23

And the old man went out to them, and said: Do not so, my brethren, do not so wickedly: because this man is come into my lodging, and cease I pray you from this folly.

1 Samuel 23:22

Go therefore, I pray you, and use all diligence, and curiously inquire, and consider the place where his foot is, and who hath seen him there: for he thinketh of me, that I lie craftily in wait for him.

2 Maccabees 9:26

I pray you therefore, and request of you, that remembering favours both public and private, you will every man of you continue to be faithful to me and to my son.

Luke 18:13 – (the tax collector)…(prayed)…‘O God, be merciful to me, a sinner’. Believe me, this man went home from the temple justified but the (Pharisee) did not.

A tax collector was a thief, surely that is a mortal sin. This
passage of the Bible states that he went home justified after
he prayed.

Christ hears our prayers, no matter what.

If God is God, then He almost can’t help but hear out prayers - out of love and mercy!

The problem arises: if we’re in mortal sin, and we lack the necessary grace, then prayer becomes harder because we feel increasingly spiritually distant from God. If we feel God doesn’t hear our prayers, it’s not because He doesn’t or can’t, but it’s because we’ve given Satan access to our souls and he’s impanted doubt there!

Ask Jesus for the gift of repentance truely and humbly, in a state of mortal sin it is Christ who can awaken our souls to repentance. Mary being a creature has also been given special graces by her Son to bring souls to repentence and back to her Son, that’s why she is “The Star Of The Sea”.

Consider mortal sin like being on stormy dark waters being thrashed around by the waves, lost and suddenly seeing a lighthouse directing us out of the storm to saftey, that’s our Lady, ven if there is a crack of light in us she will flood us with the grace of a repentent heart and fill us with desire for Jesus, soon we’ll be running to confession with a thirst for our risen Lord!

First of all, if there is any question as to whether or not God hears the prayers of a person in mortal sin, St Thomas Aquinas said that God certainly does. Quoting St Augustine who was referring to the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, St Thomas said, “If God were not to hear sinners, the publican would have vainly said, ‘Lord, be merciful to me a sinner’.” A person who is not in the state of grace can pray for the grace of conversion, and when asked for with humility, confidence and perseverance, he can indeed obtain it. St Thomas said, although he cannot merit anything (because merit is a right to a reward and is thereby related to divine justice), his prayer for conversion is nevertheless heard because it is addressed to God’s mercy. A person’s prayers for the grace of conversion would be more effective if he has the intention to go to Confession as soon as possible because it embodies the contrition necessary to receive God’s grace.

Can a person merit an increase of grace if he is not in the state of grace?

When a person is not in the state of grace he cannot merit an increase in grace by asking for it in prayer, for as St Alphonsus Liguori said, “In order to obtain God’s graces by prayer, it is necessary, first, to take away sin.” The reason for this, as St Thomas Aquinas said, is, “Neither prayer nor any other virtuous act is meritorious without sanctifying grace.”

Are prayers more efficacious when sanctifying grace is in a person’s soul?

St James considers that a person’s prayers do indeed bear more fruit when he is reconciled to God, for he said, “the heartfelt prayer of a good man works very powerfully.” Since it is understood within the context of St James’ words that a “good man” clearly refers to someone in the state of grace, then such a person’s heartfelt prayers, provided that he is not lacking in humility, are indeed more efficacious.

Does penance have any merit when a person is in mortal sin?

St Teresa said, “Nothing helps such a soul … all the good works it might do while in mortal sin are fruitless for the attainment of glory.” She explains:

Since these works do not proceed from that principle, which is of God … and are separated from Him, they cannot be pleasing in His sight.

Does the penance and good works a person offers to God while he is in mortal sin become meritorious after he goes to Confession?

St Thomas Aquinas said that this is not possible because without God’s grace we cannot merit anything: “Works generically good done without charity are said to be dead on account of the lack of grace and charity.” He verifies this by quoting St Paul: “If I give away all I have, and if I deliver my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.” Since God is love, St Thomas understands not having love in this context as not being in union with God. He concludes, “Therefore, it is impossible for dead works [works done in mortal sin] to be quickened [become meritorious] by Penance.”

In summary, there are numerous reasons to suggest that if a person has seriously neglected to go to Confession, he may be missing out on a number of benefits identified in the last two chapters because:

1 if he is in mortal sin all the penance and good works he did in the past when he was in the state of grace are “deadened,” that is, they no longer have merit;

2 for as long as he is not in the state of grace (i) the penance and good works he does in that state are “dead,” that is, they make no reparation for his sins, neither are they effective to win eternal life; and (ii) a good Confession does not render these dead works to have any merit;

3 the longer he is not in the state of grace, the less time and opportunity he has to gain merit for himself and others and to grow in the supernatural virtues.

However, when he makes a good Confession, the good works he did in the state of grace in the past are restored and given back. He is also able to gain graces for himself and others once more through prayer and good works, provided that he performs them with love for God and with a good intention.

These words are taken from chapter 11 of a book entitled, “The Gift of Confession: A Positive Approach to the Sacrament of Reconciliation” by Fr Michael de Stoop published by Connor Court. It consits of 24 other chapters, each describing a particular benefit this sacrament affords.

Thanks, Fr.Destoop for your post!

This is true. He is certainly not interested in the prayer of an unrepentant sinner who is praying for something sinful.

Dear Lord, please help this bank heist go off without a hitch.

Dear Lord, please send a lightning strike on my boss’ house.

Dear Lord, please kill off my rich uncle who has left me $1M in his will . . .

God loves us and does not ignore or abandon us, even if we’ve chosen to abandon Him through mortal sin.

From my own experience, praying while in a state of mortal sin led me to a profound conversion and Confession after living as a “cafeteria” Catholic in my twenties.

One should never abandon prayer. God hears us and loves us at all times.

That’s not true at all. You can’t grow in holiness- because holiness and mortal sin cannot exist together, but you can pray for help through your day to day trials, for the well-being of others, and you can make acts of contrition.

One should always pray- especially when in a state of mortal sin.

AMEN!!! :thumbsup:

Fr. de Stoop,

Thank you for that posting about grace. I wish I’d known all that while I was avoiding Confession up until recently - what a shame that I wasted precious time and works staying in a state of mortal sin for so long.

I’m going to have to make up for lost time with my efforts to stay in a state of grace and respond to the graces God sends me to do good things. Think I’ll get a copy of your book.

Ditto, it cleared several things up for me. Is it your book that you are quoting from?:slight_smile:

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