A few questions - Efficacy of prayers, Sunday obligations, & state of grace
#1
I have a few questions that have got me thinking.  I think this is the appropriate subforum for this.  This might have been better as separate threads, but they are interrelated, I think.

The first question has to deal with the efficacy of prayers.
It is my (very light and shallow) understanding that when one is in a state of mortal sins, one's prayers are not very efficacious?  Is this right or wrong?  Like, this is not the proper way to understand it, but say I am in a state of mortal sin and I pray the Rosary.  Is that less efficacious than if I am in a state of grace?  How so?  And why is that the case?  Does it still have worth to pray whilst in a state of mortal sin?  (Aside from the obvious, get yourself to confession ASAFP). 

The next is the Mass question (half-inspired by Miss_Fluffy's post). 
Since the Mass is (objectively) the highest form of worship man can give to God (the second seeming to be the Divine Office - the other public prayer of the Church), it is required that we attend, unite our prayers with the priest, and offer the Mass to God.  We owe God, by nature of our existence (and in a form of justice [not the right word]), praise, thanksgiving, adoration, and contrition.  So I guess that, for me, rationalizes the holy day obligation.  Or is there more to it that I'm missing or not understanding?
But, if one's prayers are not efficacious while in a state of mortal sin, aside from piling on more sins to be confessed and purged at the Purgatory (at the least, God willing), what use is it to go to Mass?  (That question does, admittedly, have a tint of despair to it). 

A question regarding the graces God gives us.
And then, it is obvious that God gives us grace to deal with all the excrement thrown at us by life.  If one is in a state of mortal sin, can one still receive these graces?  Are they muted?  Or are they not received?  Or, do they accumulate until one confesses their sins, and then are dumped like a bucket of water on the penitent?  And, to use a (poor) utilitarian viewpoint of the Mass:  if God gives us graces by attending Mass, then clearly we should go.  But, is it "worth" going to fulfill the obligation even if the graces aren't acquired? 

And lastly, how to avoid despair.
How do you avoid despair or hopelessness, when one does not/cannot get to confession in an orderly time and the sins just pile up, and then it just seems like "Oh, well, what's one more sin on top of this list of X"? 

If possible, please provide some sourcing/backing/documents/books to read up on/think about. 

Responses are appreciated.  :)
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#2
I am in a middle of a self imposed restriction on the forum, but this is important, so I'll weigh in on the prayer question. It's important to remember that when one falls into sin, that person is actually obligated to pray. In fact, it's an additional sin not to, from what I've been told. So it wouldn't be logical to conclude that a prayer is useless merely because one is in a state of mortal sin. However, it is more difficult to pray in that state. As for dealing wuth going a long time without confessing sins, prayer comes into play in that situation. One should pray for strength to avoid offending God further.Also, one should make all efforts to get to confession as soon as possible. Even if it means a longer, out of the way trip. After all, salvation is at stake. Now, back to my break.
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#3
(10-23-2011, 08:35 PM)tradne4163 Wrote: I am in a middle of a self imposed restriction on the forum, but this is important, so I'll weigh in on the prayer question. It's important to remember that when one falls into sin, that person is actually obligated to pray. In fact, it's an additional sin not to, from what I've been told. So it wouldn't be logical to conclude that a prayer is useless merely because one is in a state of mortal sin. However, it is more difficult to pray in that state. As for dealing wuth going a long time without confessing sins, prayer comes into play in that situation. One should pray for strength to avoid offending God further.Also, one should make all efforts to get to confession as soon as possible. Even if it means a longer, out of the way trip. After all, salvation is at stake. Now, back to my break.

If someone can answer while he is gone....
Why is it one's duty to pray when in sin?  What's the reasoning/rational/obligation behind it all, short of owing God penance.
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#4
1) Praying while in mortal sin gives the grace of conversion. Once you confess, you receive the merits from the prayers. You never lose anything if you confess and are back in a state of grace. The problem is that mortal sin creates negative inertia, and can negatively affect the disposition of your prayer, so you have to get to confession ASAP. Obviously we should avoid mortal sin like the plague.

2) Answered by one. Prayers are efficacious, but stifled until you clear your soul of the muck.

3) Answered again by one and two now. You soul is not disposed to receive the grace and merits, except the grace to confess. Once confessed, you receive all the merits of your prayers.

4) Now matter our state, it is always good and efficacious to go to Mass, pray, etc. Even if we just killed someone, God forbid, it is efficacious to go to Mass, etc.

5) Avoid despair but focusing on hope and God's supreme good will. Focus on the fact that God wills the good of man, and his conversion and salvation. It is hard when you get in a moral rut. You have to take the bull by the horns when you get out of confession. You have to make solid changes to avoid mortal sin again. If it is with a woman, you have to make very strong changes to avoid the sin. This may mean not going over to her house, or even cutting off the relationship. If it is porn, then you cut off the source, like stopping going on the Internet. Etc. I think you get the drift.
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#5
As of late it has been extremely helpful to me to contemplate the possibility that my prayers are less effacacious if I'm in a state of mortal sin so that I can pray for the grace to stand against temptations and not fall in the first place. What you said (Scriptorium) about all this stuff is very helpful. It's nice to think that after making a good confession we receive the merits for the prayers we made while in mortal sin. Usually when I fall my prayer life takes a nosedive for awhile but it shouldn't have to.
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