Mark P. Shea is a popular Catholic writer and speaker. The author of numerous books, his most recent work is The Work of Mercy (Servant) and The Heart of Catholic Prayer (Our Sunday Visitor). Mark contributes numerous articles to many magazines, including his popular column “Connecting the Dots” for the National Catholic Register. Mark is known nationally for his one minute “Words of Encouragement” on Catholic radio. He also maintains the Catholic and Enjoying It blog. He lives in Washington state with his wife, Janet, and their four sons.
A reader writes:
Why would God listen to the prayers of a sinner like myself if I can't get my own house in order?
God hears your prayers because he loves you and has given you the Holy Spirit to pray in and through you. Prayer is God’s gift to you, not your gift to God. Do you refuse to listen to a child who has not learned his “please” and “thank you” yet? Is not “Please” and “thank you” your gift to the child, making him a polite grownup and not a selfish savage? Same with you and me. God answers our prayers, not because of our earning it, but because he is changing us from selfish savage who care only about ourselves into people who love others. Sure you are a sinner. Who isn’t? But God commands us to pray. Your acute knowledge of your own sinfulness is one of the chisels he uses to sculpt your soul while you are busy trying to help him sculpt somebody else’s soul. As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpeneth another. - Proverbs 27:17