Prayer and Divine Providence

Over the course of many years, I’ve learned that God’s providence can be called upon to assist us, mere weak and mortal sinners, in any of the tasks and events of our daily lives. By prayer, we can obtain help for a trip, a visit to the doctor’s, a conflict with a friend or family member, or any other event or task in our daily lives. It doesn’t have to be an event or topic of major importance. By praying for the help of God’s grace and providence, any task meets with fewer problems and is much more likely to have a happy outcome. God’s assistance so obtained is sometimes subtle, and other times not so subtle.

For example, let’s say that you are planning a daytrip. Start praying about a week in advance. I suggest a decade of the Rosary and/or some portion of a Divine Mercy Chaplet, as well as some extemporaneous prayer. Pray daily. Then, as the trip begins, say some prayers periodically while you are travelling. The trip will go much better than without the prayer. You will have the help of providence. Things will happen that seem, from a secular point of view, to be simply good luck. But it is the work of God’s grace and providence.

Compare such a prayerful trip to another daytrip, one where you have neglected to pray. Things will happen that seem, from a secular point of view, to be simply bad luck. But this is due to your negligence in prayer, so that God’s grace and providence is with you to a lesser extent.

And the same is true for larger concerns, that are not limited to a particular time frame. Pray every day for God’s help with some aspect of your life, and as the months and years pass, you will notice much fruit from that area of concern. This application of prayer to obtain help from grace and providence — for other persons, as well as for yourself — can make a remarkable difference over the course of many years. Whereas, if you only pray a little, just before some task or event, the help you obtain may be considerably less.

Consider the path of an arrow. If the arrow travels a short distance, and there is a light breeze, its path is deflected only a little. But if the light breeze continues over a long path and a long time, the arrow’s final destination can be very different from the original point of aim. Similarly, if you pray daily for other persons and for yourself, each person’s life can be greatly affected over the course of a long time. And the difference can even extent to one’s final destination, Heaven or Hell.

As Our Lady told Lucia, Francisco, and Jacinta, after they had seen Hell, “Pray a great deal and make many sacrifices, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to pray and make sacrifices for them.” [Our Catholic Prayers].

Sacrifices, such as fasting and other types of self-denial, can also make a big difference in your life and in the lives of others. Be careful to avoid self-indulgence, and to offer your sacrifices prayerfully for particular persons and situations. You should not imagine that a quick prayer to God, for a few minutes or seconds, will be sufficient because God loves everyone. His love requires you to do your part. Consider the examples of the Saints and all that they did for the love of God and neighbor. A little prayer every day is not sufficient. One short prayer to obtain help for some situation or task is not enough. Put in the time and effort, and you will see much better results.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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4 Responses to Prayer and Divine Providence

  1. Theresa says:

    I pray everyday for God’s help and I’ve been truly Blessed…. doors have opened for me in ways never thought possible and I shout it from the rooftops!
    However, I still need help. I’ve been wronged by a few people in the past and I know the right thing to do is to forgive them and pray for them but I truly have such a hard time doing this. How do I break thru this barrier?

  2. María Dolores says:

    crucify your grudge. Give it to your heavenly Mother, and ask her to lead you through. Contemplate her silence at the Cross, didn’t she have enough reasons to grudge? Contemplate the silence of the Servant of God: He was oppressed and afflicted, yet He did not open his mouth…
    There you shall find peace for your heart.

  3. Matt says:

    Philippians {4:6} Be anxious about nothing. But in all things, with prayer and supplication, with acts of thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God.

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