The Power of Intercessory Prayer
The Prayer of Sinners
I was asked by a mother to pray for a daughter, that she felt was in danger of losing her soul. It poses the question how good are our prayers, the prayers of simple sinners, in these situations. For the answer, all we have to do is look in the Diary of Saint Faustina, to see how powerful the Lord has made our intercessory prayer.
Jesus said, “If you say this prayer, with a contrite heart and with faith, (which is of course belief and trust) on behalf of some sinner I will give that soul the grace of conversion”. The prayer Jesus gave us to invite Him into the life of another, is a prayer that shows our belief and our trust in His death on the cross to bring Divine Mercy to all mankind especially sinners.
“O Blood and water that gushed forth from the heart of Jesus, as a fount of mercy for us, I trust in You”. (Diary 186, 187)
St. Faustina Intercedes
St. Faustina writes in her Diary, “I asked the Lord for help with a lost soul and the good Lord answered by entrusting this soul into my care. How much suffering this soul cost me is known only to God. For no other soul did I make so many sacrifices and for no other soul did I offer so much prayer before the throne of God as I did for this lost soul. I felt finally that I had forced God to grant this soul the grace of conversion. When I reflect on this, I see that this soul’s conversion was truly a miracle, but it also showed me the power of intercessory prayer before God” (Diary, 202). The lost soul that was put into the care of Saint Faustina by Our Lord was that of her own sister.
You may ask why so much was expected of St. Faustina to save her sisters soul, because to those that are given much, much is expected. (Luke 12-48) For St. Faustina the veil was lifted, when she was given the Heavenly vision, and saw the Father on His throne. (Diary 474) And I know there are many people who have members of their own families who have strayed or lost the faith entirely. If a member of your family is in this position, then you have been given the entrustment of their soul by the Lord. Because he has given you the prayers and means to save them.
When St. Faustina received this message it became clear to her that many souls can be saved by intercessory prayer. As she records in her Diary “O my God, I now know, what my mission on earth is, It is to make constant endeavour to plead for mercy for mankind” (Diary, 482).
At the break of day Saint Faustina’s first intercessory prayer was for those about to die unprepared, because they could be on the brink of eternal damnation And this was her prayer: Jesus I beg You, by the inconceivable power of Your mercy, let all the souls who will die this day, escape the fire of hell, even if they have been the greatest sinners the world has ever known.. and she recorded in the Diary what happened when she said this prayer “when I said this prayer, Jesus pressed me to His Heart and said, “You have come to know the depths of My mercy. I will do what you ask, but you must unite yourself continually with My agonising Heart and make reparation to My justice”. (Diary 873)
Intercessory prayer to Jesus is very powerful prayer, because it is demonstrating your trust in God the Father’s mercy, it is glorifying God. Intercessory prayer is giving witness to your belief in God, and His great grace of Divine Mercy given through His Son Jesus Christ. (Luke 11, 9-13). Jesus said, “Ask and you shall receive; seek and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened to you. For whoever asks, receives; whoever seeks, finds; whoever knocks, is admitted. ...How much more will the Heavenly Father give, through His Son, to those who ask through Him”. And in our miserable human condition there is intense need of intercessory prayer. Because without it sinners who will not pray for themselves are without purpose, and without hope. The greatest need in this world is for God's mercy, that mercy that brings into a sinners life, forgiveness, reconciliation, love, and salvation. Only God the Father, in His Spirit of Mercy, can answer the needs through intercessory prayer of those who are without their own prayer, and without hope.
Obtaining God's Mercy for Others
But obtaining God's mercy for others, depends on our asking for it with trust, because God so respects our trust in Him, that He will not violate that trust. He waits for us to exercise our right to trust in His mercy. When we do this, we then give God the freedom to grant mercy to others, even when they do not ask for it themselves. If only people could understand the power of intercessory prayer. (Rom 11-32) By prayer we give God permission to be merciful. And His mercy will always exceed our needs and our asking. For His plans for us, are always greater than our plans for ourselves. So when we pray, we allow God to fulfil His plan, in His way, and in His timing. And His plan is to have mercy on all mankind.
For this reason he gave us the Chaplet of Divine Mercy which is a Eucharistic offering.
The Chaplet of Divine Mercy
It echoes the prayer of St. Michael at Fatima, and is so close to the offering and sacrifice of the Holy Mass" when we say, Eternal Father, I offer You the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Your dearly beloved Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ, in atonement for our sins and those of the whole world; for the sake of His sorrowful Passion, have mercy on us and on the whole and we can repeat this throughout the whole day. And we can continuously ask for God's mercy throughout the day with the simple exclamation, "Jesus have Mercy on us and on the whole world”.
We cry out with our hearts, even as St. Faustina did, to Jesus, whose Heart was opened for us as the fountain of the Father's mercy. By this prayer we not only honour Jesus, as Divine Mercy itself, but we also ask Him to have mercy on us, on our needs, on the needs of the Church and on the needs of the whole world. This can be a continual cry from our heart and our lips as we daily encounter the needs of the human condition. "Jesus, have Mercy on us, and on the whole world.
Stepping Stone to Sanctity
Praying for God's mercy is a great stepping stone to sanctity. (Rom 5-5) When we ask for mercy, we ask for and receive the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Mercy. It is the Holy Spirit who transforms us, who is poured into our hearts and makes us holy. The Holy Spirit transforms our earthen vessels, all our misery, into His temples! Holiness is not so much the vessel as the content within the vessel; that is, the living presence of the Holy Spirit within us. The more we ask for God's mercy, the more we are transformed into vessels of that mercy, vessels, that can carry it to a world that is terribly in need. And there is no doubt that the world's greatest and most urgent need is God's Divine Mercy.
This urgency is one of the most important messages from Our Lord to Saint Faustina, a message for the whole world, recorded in Saint Faustina’s diary when He said to her: “Speak to the whole world about My mercy; let all mankind recognise My unfathomable mercy. It is a sign for the end times; after it will come the day of justice. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy; let them profit from the Blood and Water which gushed forth from My merciful Heart for all mankind”. (Parg.848)