We’ve been going through a relatively challenging time in our family over the past several (almost a year) months. I say relatively because the challenges each of us face are different and are difficult based on our own family, lives and circumstances. So, comparatively speaking, the things that have hit us aren’t devastating or insurmountable. But, they have presented us with numerous opportunities to grow in faith & hope, rely on God completely to meet our needs, and to pray.
This difficult time has not caused me to question my faith in or relationship with the Lord. I would not leave the Church or ever deny Christ just because things got tough. And, it’s not a matter of NOT praying. The praying has never stopped during all of this. (2Cor. 4:13-15) But, my praying feels like it’s gone flat.
As I mentioned above, the struggle our family has been dealing with is approaching a year. A year of praying for the same or very similar intention constantly as wave after wave after wave of unfortunate circumstances has crashed up us.
Before you misunderstand, we haven’t been ONLY praying for this particular intention (or some variation of it). In the course of a year, there have been many intense circumstances that have taken place in the world that we have prayed for. We have family and friends who have needed prayers for various things. There’s even been a multitude of prayers of joy and thanksgiving to lift up as well – not the least of which was the birth of our 3rd child a mere 2.5 weeks ago.
But, for this one major intention that continues to remain unanswered (or, as conventional faith-based wisdom would say, has been answered with “Wait”), I just don’t even know how or what to pray any more. There have been rosaries, novenas, intercessory prayers, standard family prayers, priestly guidance and support, holy hours, spiritual reading, etc., etc. And, I just don’t know what else to do, how else to pray, how many times the Lord wants me to knock, ask, and seek (Mt. 7:7).
There, I said it. I’m not praying well. Whether you want to call it a dry spell or a dark night or just plain ol’ failure, my prayer life has sucked and I’m trying to figure out how to get back on the rails and chug along merrily in my prayer life again.
I hope my admission of this currently crummy prayer life can help you examine what your prayer life is looking like, too. As I write this, I’m praying for all of us who are in this boat together – we who are stagnant, we who need spiritual rejuvenation, we who want to be passionate about prayer. I hope that you will say a quick prayer for me, too.
Because, as Pope Francis reminds me, “And we ourselves, when we don’t pray, what we’re doing is closing the door to the Lord. And not praying is this: closing the door to the Lord, so that He can do nothing. On the other hand, prayer, in the face of a problem, a difficult situation, a calamity, is opening the door to the Lord so that He will come. So that He builds things, He knows to arrange things, to reorganize things. This is what praying is: opening the door to the Lord, so that he can do something. But if we close the door, God can do nothing! Let us think on this Mary who has chosen the better part, and makes us see the way, as the door is opened to the Lord.” (emphasis added)