Saints and "never known to fail"

Why are devotions to certain saints said to never have failed?
What does it mean if a novena or devotion that has never failed - fails.

In my experience I have heard all sorts of testimonies made for St Therese and how she sends roses from heaven and never fails. But she failed me and I didn’t get a rose. My prayer was never answered and to be honest I really resent her for it because I was in one of my darkest hours when I asked for her assistance.

Any thoughts or similar experiences?


When you ask for spiritual virtue, interior changes for the good, for yourself, this type of prayer is as a general rule, always efficacious to some level. Because your will is oriented towards taking these graces and making use of them properly.

If you ask it for someone else, it may or may not be, because the other person’s will may be opposed to the prayer too greatly.

If you ask for material benefits, these are very iffy, because God only gives these when they truly good to have, and instead a change in interior attitude towards material things is often in fact what God calls for.

Every prayer we pray has to include, humility and surrender to God’s will as a qualifier to it. If God doesn’t want to grant what we ask for directly, we have to be willing to accept that completely. If we are, our prayers are much more likely to be heard, than if we will get upset if God does not give us exactly what we want, when we want it, as if in fact, He did not know what was best for us rather than we.

If you pray a prayer that is always efficacious, it always is – but efficacious in the way we want it to be? That is another story. The way we want it to be efficacious is the way God wants it to be efficacious, and that is one of the lessons we go through again and again, until we are successful in learning it.

Often enough if we pray for interior consolations, we ourselves are preventing them from occurring by our lack of interior effort to achieve the interior state to receive them. We have to aim for peace to be able to receive God’s graces, and if our wills are caught up in certain passions and we refuse to turn them from them, we are opposing what we are asking for, and so how things turn out… well it’s like weighing scales to my mind.


And prayed to S. Magdalene, who never fails, that I would jump from the 10th floor without parachute. and now I am seeing you from here high above and i wish I never prayed to her…Kidding, ok?..:thumbsup:

I recall reading a story about a blind man whose sight was restored by God. He did not pray to have his sight restored by God, but accepted God’s will completely, that he be blind. And so, because of this acceptance, God was pleased to restore his sight.

If he had no had this surrender, he would not have gained it, is the lesson. God always wants what is best for us. It may not seem that way on the outside, but God is greater than all the exterior matters that plague us. And so, one of the key spiritual lessons is learning to trust God, no matter what happens, no matter what happens after our prayers. :slight_smile:

We often put the cart before the horse, and ask for something when something else has to happen first for it to actually work out. FWIF, I think to a certain extent part of the spiritual journey is learning the proper order of fixing or healing ourselves interiorly…

I don’t understand

I have an acquaintance who used to believe in God, but stopped believing in God when he prayed for something and didn’t get it. After all, ask and you shall receive, seek and you shall find, and all that good stuff, right? :rolleyes: Problem was, he was confusing God with Santa Claus or a genie who would magically grant his every wish.

Sometimes what we pray for doesn’t get answered because it’s not in our best interests. How many failed relationships have we all shed buckets of tears over and prayed our broken hearts out over asking for God to fix the other person and make them love us like they used to— and yet, fast forward a year or two later, we’re in an even better relationship and realize how truly dorky our old flame was? Or there are rumors of layoffs at work, and you pray your heart out asking please, please, please, let me keep my job, but you get laid off anyways… but it sets you on a path that’s far superior to where you would have ended up had you remained in your original rut? And being laid off ended up being a blessing in disguise, because it forced you into action and out of your comfort zone. Or sometimes, an illness, a mental condition, an accident, a disfigurement— they may lead to immediate suffering, but you manage to turn your suffering into great spiritual profit.

God never ignores prayers, but there’s nothing that binds him to answer them in the way we want. He works on his timeline, and not ours. He gives us what we need, and not necessarily what we want.

Re: the roses, you might encounter them in one of many of shapes and forms. They’re not necessarily physical flowers, and they might never come into your possession— but hopefully when they cross your path, you’ll think of her praying for you. :slight_smile:

I’m sorry to hear that you felt abandoned during one of your darkest periods. :frowning: I trust that with time, you’ll be able to find that your prayer was answered… just not in the form you were expecting your answer to come.

God Gave Me Nothing I Wanted

When I asked God for strength,
He gave me difficult situations to face.

When I asked God for brain & brawn,
He gave me puzzles in life to solve.

When I asked God for happiness,
He showed me some unhappy people.

When I asked God for wealth,
He showed me how to work hard.

When I asked God for favors,
He showed me opportunities to work hard.

When I asked God for peace,
He showed me how to help others.

God gave me nothing I wanted;
He gave me everything I needed.

Is that a prayer at the end of your post midori?
It’s very beautiful

Stating that a prayer/novena/devotion “never fails” can be well intended but it can lead to a misrepresentation that leads people into thinking that such prayers can be used to manipulate God’s will, which is the sin of irreligion.

The fact of the matter is that no prayer ever fails because God hears them all and decides how to dispose of them all. The answer could well be “no” or “later,” and that doesn’t mean that the prayer has failed.

I personally have a problem with this because it almost sends a message to manipulate God’s will. I can NOT count how many times I have heard people say ‘I prayed for acceptance and in the end I got what I really wanted’. I never heard them say, 'I prayed for aceeptance the (insert what they were hoping to get) did not happen but golly I had acceptance.

What about all the people who learned to live with it and never got their sight back?

Or better yet, what about the person who looses a loved one? Once they have accept God’s will, the loved one won’t come back


Tons of similar experiences.

I was in a horrible work situation. Every night, I thanked God I had a job and every morning I prayed for all the managers that made my life miserable. 2 weeks later a good job fell on my lap

2 years later that company was going through lay offs. Prayed the same prayer, 2 weeks later got a promotion

4 years later was let go because I made a complaint against sexual harrament. Prayed the same prayer. Didn’t get a job for over a year and a much lower position that I was at. So yes, some prayers don’t get answered

On a spiritual level, I have been praying for YEARS to God to put forgiveness in my heart for all the people who have severly mistreated me. And I can’t not sleep as I write this because the resentments woke me up

So hang in there, you are not alone


usually when a prayer says something like this, it doesn’t mean you’ll definitely get a sign like a rose, but that the Saint will definitely pray for you and - well then it’s up to God’s will. If we pray for something outside of God’s will, it’s BETTER for it not to be answered. As for the rose, maybe you didn’t get one because God wanted you to rely more on faith than on a sign… just at thought :slight_smile: prayer isn’t ‘magic’…

btw, in the prayer to St Therese, it doesn’t say that she always sends a rose… it just asks her for one. If there’s a version that says that the novena never fails, then it means that her intercession never fails: not that she always sends a rose, because that is not the case. I’ve received roses from her, but other times, I have not. It’s all up to God and He knows what is best for us.

God bless :slight_smile:

Just to add:

You could already be on your way to what you truly need. Maybe God doesn’t have to do anything for you.

I started the green scapular devotion due to a sleep condition that I had had for a few years due it’s reputation for cures and conversions. The day the scapular arrived, I went to Confession, had it blessed, said the prayer, (“Immaculate heart of Mary, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death”). That night I slept from 11pm until 7am for the first time and haven’t had it back since.

However, I have also hidden one in my sister’s room, doing the devotion for her, due to the promise for conversions, but my sister still hasn’t converted. I know that God is working on her, but she is a stubborn person!

It’s a poem written by a Hindu, Swami Vivekananda, who once wandered around looking for a man who had come face to face with God. :slight_smile:

My thought is this: You can pray to all the Saints you want, and make all the Novenas you want, but if you are not praying first for God’s will to be done, you are not praying correctly.

If the Novena “fails”, perhaps it is because the prayer was not within God’s will. Saints do not act on their own, they are perfectly attuned to the Divine Will. If God says no, they are not going to trump Him.

We humans are impatient, we want things done and prayers answered NOW, and we fail to see that now may not be the proper time according to Divine knowledge, or our prayer not being answered the way we want it to be may not be the best thing for us in the long run.

Every time we pray, we should be willing to accept God’s will in the matter, whether we like it or not. Our whole life should be directed toward seeking and living out the will of God, as hard as that seems and as often as we fail. So should our parayer be directed in this manner.

Lately, it seems that I am running into threads that for some reason touch upon other parts of my life… coincidence? I think not :slight_smile:

A few days ago, I posted this on my facebook status

I asked God for strength that I might achieve. I was made weak that I might learn humbly to obey.
I asked for health that I might do greater things. I was given infirmity that I might do better things.
I asked for riches that I might be happy. I was given poverty that I might be wise.
I asked for power that I might have the praise of men.I was given weakness that I might feel the need of God.
I asked for all things that I might enjoy life. I was given life that I might enjoy all things.
I got nothing that I asked for, but everything I hoped for. Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered. I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

This morning I posted THIS on my Facebook Status:

"Prayer is the lifting of our hearts and minds to God.
For no matter what we’re saying, we’re asking,
“Do you love me?”
And no matter how He answers, He’s saying,
“Yes, I do.”

~ Mother Angelica

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