Sunday Morning by Thomas Waterman Wood (Wikimedia Commons). How can we know that God will hear and answer our prayers?

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:

  1. We must be praying for ourselves, since freewill is involved.
  2. We must be praying for something necessary for salvation (but theologians include in this all the goods that could help us grow in grace).
  3. We must pray piously–in Jesus’ name, with humility, trust, and attention.
  4. 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.

Connie Rossini


Written by Connie Rossini

Hi, I’m a Catholic writer and homeschool mother of four boys. I practice Carmelite spirituality. Check out my Books page for publications to help your whole family grow in holiness.


  1. Mari Kate September 9, 2014 at 10:30 am Reply

    Timely Connie. Of course we all know this already and yet we so need to be reminded especially when we have to persevere as the answer is delayed-seemingly on our end-but in truth is in God’s perfect timing. Bless you!

    • Connie Rossini September 9, 2014 at 12:09 pm Reply

      Bless you too, Mai Kate. Yes, our experience sometimes tempts us to doubt. But God remains faithful to His word if we persevere.

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