I learned a new word the other day that I want to share with you: impetration. Impetration is a prayer that God infallibly answers. The concept comes from such New Testament passages as this:
Ask and you will receive. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Mt. 7:7)
Now we know from experience that God does not answer every prayer. Or, as we like to say, He sometimes answers with a “no.” So where is the fulfillment of this verse?
St. Thomas Aquinas taught that there are four requirements for impetration:
- We must be praying for ourselves, since freewill is involved.
- We must be praying for something necessary for salvation (but theologians include in this all the goods that could help us grow in grace).
- We must pray piously–in Jesus’ name, with humility, trust, and attention.
- We must persevere in prayer when necessary.
So, it you are praying to be a saint, take heart! If you are praying to remain in God’s grace, trust He will answer. If you are praying to overcome a certain sin, depend on Him to see you through. If you persevere in such prayers, God will answer them with a “yes.” We have the promise of Christ that this is so.