Doubts about prayer

I tend to have doubts about my prayer life with some frequency. Every once in a while, when I believe that I am praying “well” a voice inside will ask “Are you sure about that? Do you really believe that you are praying and that it is God you are hearing? Do you think you and He talk in such obvious ways? You’re just kidding yourself, illuding yourself into believing that you’re doing something more than introspection.”

When I read Scripture and pause to consider some passage or other, to question just why exactly it has caught my attention and what God is asking me to do in relation to it; when I just simply stop to savour a simple verse, repeating it over and over slowly to internalize it; when in the middle of the workday I recall some particular verse and say it to myself to remember that I am in God’s presence; when I am suddenly “awakened” to the beauty of my surrounding or the suffering of some one near by, and that illicits a prayer of thanksgiving or of mercy; or even when something happens during the day that makes me ask “what is God trying to say to me through this” - it is these things that this voice questions the validity of.

It tends to get annoying, especially given that there seems to be a certain frequency to it. Have any of you ever experieced this?

I think that everyone who wants to be closer to God experience some sort of disturbances in prayer…I have experienced it and my friends too…I try to ignore it, not to get absorbed by this little voice which tells me to doubt God and His love…God wants to talk to us, hear our prayers and he wants to answer our prayers…God is love, mercy and goodness…everything else is a lie…keep up with your prayers…

These doubts have the obvious mark of an attack by the evil one. Such attacks are definitely to be expected. Don’t worry - you are on the right track and in good company for all of the great Saints were also attacked in these subtle but insidious ways.
You are seeking after God in Love and in prayerful suplication. You are meditating on His word and listening for His “small still voice”. You are being rewarded in this by small but clear intimations of awe and insights. Praise God for them.

I was watching Mother Angelica last night and, in talking with a caller, she said one good thing to do with such attacks is to “Laugh at them”. The devil hates that.

Lastley I would just say that, to know if it is of God one only need to compare what you are hearing against the Law of Love. “Love God with all of your heart and Love your neighbor as yourself.” Is what you are hearing or learning in accordance with this law?
These doubts are not in accordance with this law for they instill fear and dissention. On the other hand, thoughts of awe at nature is Love of Gods handiwork; thoughts of peace in His word are Love of God’s providence over you.

Rest in God’s Love and you can’t go far wrong.


Agreed - and that is very good advice.

Three reasons to bring this up in confession:

  1. The grace you will receive for doing so.
  2. The devil loves secrecy and hates transparency. He wants you to suffer alone.
  3. The priest might have just the perfect advice for you.

They are just that…little annoying gnats --pay them no mind. :slight_smile:

i would suggest too the book ‘Time for God’ by Fr. Jacques Philippe – it is an excellent little book on mental prayer.


That Jacques Philippe book is here

and here is the zenit interview

I find his books to be not only orthodox Catholic but very profound and helpful.

the book i mentioned was Time for God

I found that book very helpful.


It is good to know Satan’s voice. Accept that he is unhappy with your prayers and wishes to convert you. If it doesn’t sound like something God would tell you it isn’t God speaking.

Look at it this way, even Jesus had to deal with him. See Luke 4:5-8, Matthew 16:23 and Mark 8:33. Follow His example and tell Satan he is now welcome, every time. Then go back to your prayer.

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