Whenever we pray, its important to not only recognize our place in the world, but to also seek God’s forgiveness for our sins.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this prerequisite in its section on prayer:
The first movement of the prayer of petition isasking forgiveness, like the tax collector in the parable: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” It is a prerequisite for righteous and pure prayer. A trusting humility brings us back into the light of communion between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ and with one another, so that “we receive from him whatever we ask.”CCC 2631
It can be tempting to be over prideful when we pray, thinking that God must answer our prayers in the way that we want.
However, God does not bow down to our wishes, as if he were a genie and our slave.
We are the ones who need to do the bowing, striking our chest like the tax collector and recognizing our need for fogiveness.
The Catechism continues by explaining, “Asking forgiveness is the prerequisite for both the Eucharistic liturgy and personal prayer” (CCC 2631).
This is why we begin every Mass with a variety of actions that express sorrow for our sins.
When reading the lives of the saints, we see that they would constantly have this disposition, acknowledging their sinfulness and dependence upon God’s grace.
Before we can approach God with our own petitions, we must recognize how we have failed and seek God’s mercy.