DH Couldn't Pray Last Night (ie - Struggling with God)

My DH and I are currently dealing with a lot of stressful situations which are both personal and work-related. Basically we’re dealing with infertility, parents/grandparents that are a financial and emotional burden, intense work requirements/deliverables, and we are currently staying with the in-laws (his parents) for two weeks. Last night my DH said he needed some space as he’d been around people, on call for work, working, and on call for family help without rest. Okay. No problems there. But this morning he came and said that another one of the burdens that he was dealing with last night was the inability to pray. Basically, he’s hit a point where praying/God is a route thing. He says the Our Father every morning on his drive in to work but that’s it. And we’re currently at a time where we NEED a big faith bucket filled with love of God. He knows this needs to change but doesn’t know where to start. Neither do I. Help!

He’s not Catholic. He doesn’t attend mass with me (unless I make a request and then he usually will go - but I try to keep these requests to ‘needs’ and not ‘wants’ because he’s stated he doesn’t get anything out of mass). He doesn’t attend another type of church (basically didn’t grow up going to church). We used to do a nightly devotional but it’s been a few years since we’ve done one. We do pray at dinner.

What can I/He/We do to help get him back on a “God path”? He believes but his relationship with God right now is at an all-time low.

You both seem lovely people, and if your husband doesn’t usually go to Church and isn’t a baptized Christian, he is surely close to the Lord’s heart.

Mental and emotional stress does have the effect of making things difficult sometimes, even praying. Many of us do find that when everything goes wrong, and keeps getting worse, we can have that sense of being unable to hope or to pray, or to feel close to God. It’s not that God is blamed, it is that we need God to intervene, and when God doesn’t appear to, we find it very difficult. It’s hard to see ahead a time when issues my resolve. In my experience, eventually some do, some don’t

If your husband finds it difficult to pray…In that situation one of the things I’d do, is to talk honestly from the heart to God about everything, as to a caring Friend.
God has on His agenda not just helping us solve our problems, but our spiritual development, our preparation for eternity. Faith may not grow if everything always goes well for us, nor will it be tested and true; nor will we grow in those virtues that will only grow and be proven in adversity.

When I say ‘speak to God from the heart’ I’m thinking of Jesus when He was facing the worst time of His life, when He would be tortured, deserted by most of His friends; His mission will appear to have failed, and He would die.
He spoke from His heart to the Father…Father please don’t let me have to go through all this, a translation of (“Father let this cup pass from Me”) but He added, “not my will, Your will be done.”

I don’t know if these thoughts help you,

but love and prayers,

Trishie

Perhaps these scriptures won’t touch the worn heart and mind, if someone is too exhausted.
I included them anyway, in case any do help in any way.

I do know what it’s like when troubles pile on troubles, and prayer seems in vain during that period, which can seem to last longer than one hopes…but have also experienced when things do get better after such a period.

“My brothers, you will always have your trials but, when they come, try to treat them as a happy privilege; you understand that your faith is only put to the test to make you patient, but patience too is to have its practical results so that you will become fully developed, complete, with nothing missing.” [James 1:2-4]

“So, even those whom God allows to suffer must trust themselves to the constancy of the Creator and go on doing good.” [1Peter 4:19]

“These sufferings bring patience…and patience brings perseverance, and perseverance brings hope, and this hope is not deceptive, because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given us.” [Romans 5:3-5]

“Console yourself with the Lord’s promise to repay ‘twice over with blessing’ for all we have suffered.” [Zechariah 9:12]

“Yes, the troubles which are soon over…train us for a weight of eternal glory which is out of all proportion to them.” [1Corinthians 4:17]

Therefore, “be patient…until the Lord’s coming. Think of a farmer, how patiently he waits for the precious fruit of the ground until it has the autumn rains and the spring rains. [James 5:7]

For a thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night. Psalm 90:4

Be encouraged, for “suffering is part of your training” as God’s children, but later “it bears fruit in peace and goodness.” [Hebrews 12:7, 11]

“The Lord God will wipe away the tears from every cheek; He will take away His people’s shame everywhere on earth.” [Isaiah 25:8] “I tell you solemnly, you will be weeping and wailing while the world will rejoice; you will be sorrowful, but your sorrow will turn into joy.” [John 16:20]

“What we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us. The whole of creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal His children … creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God. From the beginning till now the entire creation has been groaning…we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.” [Romans 8:18-25]

] For the Lord said: “My thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways are not your ways…Yes, and the heavens are as high above the earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts.” [Isaiah 55:8-9]

Isaiah says, “I was thinking: ‘I have toiled in vain, I have exhausted myself for nothing.’ And all the while my cause was with God, my reward with my God.” [Isaiah 49:3-4]

For “the Lord is not being slow to carry out His promises…but He is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways.” [2Peter 3:9]

“The man who with his whole heart serves God will be accepted, his petitions carry to the clouds. The humble man’s prayer pierces the clouds, until it arrives he is inconsolable, nor will he desist until the Most High takes notice of him, acquits the virtuous and delivers judgement. And the Lord will not…be dilatory on their behalf (and will) make them rejoice in His mercy. Mercy is welcome in time of trouble, like rain clouds in time of drought.” [Ecclesiasticus 35:16-19, 23-24]

Trishie, your posts are always so kind and compassionate. And thank you for posting the scriptures, they are such a good reminder of how God understands our sufferings.

I hope you don’t mind if I share with you what I believe would help. I believe setting some time aside for spiritual reading would help greatly, such as the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and especially the diary of St Faustina and one that has deepened me greatly in zeal and love for Christ would have to be the booklets by Katya, which are all completely free to download and read online in pdf. You can also buy them for the cost of printing and shipping if you want hard copies.

All of Katya’s books have the Roman Catholic Imprimatur which assures teh reader that nothing therein is contrary to Catholic Faith Moral or Teachings. These books range from roughly around 20 - 40 pages each and they have deepened me in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church in many ways.

Katya’s Booklets -

Books on the Eucharist
The Holy Mass - loveandmercy.org/Eng-HM-Reg.pdf
In Adoration - loveandmercy.org/Eng-IA-Reg.pdf

Books on Spiritual Testimonies & Devotions
Divine Providence - loveandmercy.org/Eng-DP-Reg.pdf
My Broken Christ Walks Over the Waters - loveandmercy.org/Eng-MBC-Reg.pdf
Praying the Rosary - loveandmercy.org/Eng-PR-Reg.pdf
The Visible Face of the Invisible God - loveandmercy.org/Eng-VF-Reg.pdf

Books on the Passion
The Passion - loveandmercy.org/Eng-TP-Reg.pdf
The Stations of The Cross - loveandmercy.org/Eng-SOC-Reg.pdf
From Sinai to Calvary - loveandmercy.org/Eng-FSC-Reg.pdf
I Have Given My Life for You - loveandmercy.org/Eng-IHG-Reg.pdf

For more information regarding them, please read this short pdf. - youshallbelieve.com/A-plea-to-humanity.pdf and go here - youshallbelieve.com/home-2/watch-amazing-video/

God Bless

I hope I have helped

Thank you for reading
Josh

Praying to the Holy Spirit to give your husband guidance & direction back to the Church. Praying to the Holy Spirit to give you strength & fortitude in this time of need.

Do you know of any priest that you could invite around for Lunch, and you could ask Fr. on the quiet while at lunch to give a general chat about Religion, etc. To make sure you get your husband involved in the conversation.

Thank you all for your advice! It’s hard to think up helpful things to do/pray/say/etc when this hits so close to home. I will be reviewing the scriptures and books mentioned. In reading the responses I did notice that there was mention about praying for my husband, and I cannot believe I didn’t think of this right off the bat! My prayers lately have been thanking God for my DH but not specifically for him and his spiritual/mental/physical well-being. That’s an oversight that ends tonight!

Thank you. That’s very kind.
Even we long-term members can sometimes wonder if we really are being helpful.
God bless you for being a person who does dare to say such things. I was so proud of my son in a response he made recently to his new almost-Catholic wife. She had commented that a certain elderly priest in the parish had the most inspiring glow in everything he says and does. My son asked if she had mentioned this to the elderly priest, “because sometimes maybe no one has ever told him that, and maybe it would make him realize it is all worthwhile, that his life as a priest really means something to others.”

I once heard a priest suggest that ingratitude was the sin of our first parents. It certainly is a part of it, as God had given the gift of all things but one, so all the first parents wanted was the one thing they didn’t have.

I’m not entirely highjacking the thread as I saw that the OP, takers, has mentioned her gratitude for her husband. God bless her for that, and God bless him for his desire to be in relationship with God.
God’s blessing in this thread is most of all in her new resolution to pray his spiritual/mental/physical well-being.

Actually, it isn’t only Scripture that gives inspiration for how to deal with suffering and difficulty, and how our relationship with God develops. Many of the Saints give inspiration. Saint Pio’s words leaped into mind. Padre Pio is an extraordinary saint who lived in the 20th century and was canonized by Pope John Paul 2

These are some of his words:

“Walk with simplicity in the way of the Lord and do not torment your spirit.”

“Each soul…is a stone destined to build up the eternal edifice…it has to be polished with the blows of hammer and chisel…these hits of the chisel are the shadows, the fears, the temptations, the afflictions of the spirit, the spiritual tremors with some aroma of desolation, and also physical illness.”

And in relation to feeling distant from God…

“Be certain that the more a soul loves God, the less he feels it…God is incomprehensible…so that the more a soul enters into the love of this Supreme Good…this sentiment of love towards Him seems to diminish, to the point of seeming to love Him not at all…Say rather that you love, and that you wish to love with a perfect and consummate love. This good cannot be obtained in its completion except in the next life!”
Surely, Padre Pio has something of the total self-giving of the Saviour. He wrote, “If I know that a person is afflicted in mind and body, what would I not do to see him freed from his ills, I would willingly take on all his afflictions in order to see him freed, giving up in his favour… the fruits of such suffering if the Lord would permit me.” [Letters 1, no. 184]

have you considered reducing your work hours and hopefully your stress level?

A person cannot measure how close they are to God and how deep their prayer life is by their emotions. Your husband said that his prayers are a “rote thing” and he says the Our Father but “that’s it…” Dear one if I may share with all Christian charity the things He is doing are monumental if you stop and wonder about them.

I think your husband’s faith life is wonderful!! Anyone can have a faith life that is on fire when they are full of emotion. When a person really FEELS God, when you feel God’s warmth and love, when you feel God close to you and when you feel like He is a big part of your life then it is wonderful of course to have a beautiful prayer life, but I don’t think that is a good measure of a person’s true faith.

Look at your husband and all he has gone through. Weary, tired, burned out and I see you lost a baby too. Yet EVERY DAY your husband reaches out and says an “Our Father.” This is a man of faith! This is a man that despite all the trials he still turns to God in his weariness, even though he does not feel God he still turns to Him.

I believe God sees us when we persevere in prayer and that he knows our struggles. For instance at Mass, sometimes Mass is wonderful and I love the music and I love the readings and I just seem to enter into a wonderful and deep prayerful connection with God and it is such a blessing. Then there are Masses when I don’t like the music and I think the homily is boring and I have a headache and someone is wearing cologne that irritates me and I leave Mass feeling irritated. I try and remind myself that it is at those Masses when I am not feeling God so deeply that God still sees me, persevering in prayer, trying to worship Him even though I don’t necessarily feel like I am getting as much out of it, that I am getting even more because God sees me reaching out to Him despite my struggles.

This does not mean that he should not try and grow in his faith. This does not also mean he will not stop desiring the warm feelings that sometimes come in prayers. Many people go through dry spells in their prayer lives where God feels distant, I encourage you both to persevere because when you come out the other side much joy awaits. Please be assured of my prayers, Happy Mother’s Day.

The best prayer when you can’t pray is the easiest most natural prayer:

“Help, help, help. Did I say help? I just don’t know what to do here. Help!!”

I’m not really kidding. What would you do if you wanted to talk to someone and you couldn’t find any words? You’d tell them you want to talk and can’t find the words. You might say, “I wish I knew what to ask you to do to help, but I don’t even know what to say about that.” Then you’d sit with them and either say nothing, let them talk to you, and see what happens. Maybe you’d talk before it was all over, maybe you wouldn’t.

The Lord cannot be surpassed by any parent, lover, or friend. If you want to pray and can’t pray, tell the Lord that you want to pray and you can’t pray. Ask your friends and loved ones to pray for you. Realize that just putting the time in will please God, even if you’re uncomfortable and don’t say anything.

The other thing that people I know have found helpful (that is, beyond just me) is to read the Psalms. There are lots of “help, help, help” prayers in the psalms.

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