I feel like I’m not talking to anyone when I pray

I just joined this site a few minutes ago, so I apologize if I posted this in the wrong place.

Anyway I’m a young adult who grew up going to catholic school, and mass twice a week… I completely believed everything for a long time…
But I doubt my beliefs now, I’m scared to let them go, but at the same time when I pray I feel like there’s no one there and nothing beyond earth.
I’ve been struggling with my mental health for most of my life and it seems to get worse as I get older, people close to me recommend going back to church, but I don’t think it will help… I guess I’m just wondering if anyone has had their doubts and what they did. I feel guilty for even thinking this and posting this on here.
Sorry if I wrote too much, I’ve never used forums before.

Often times I don’t feel like I’m talking to anyone when I pray either. The word that sticks out there to me is “feel”. Despite how I feel, I know my prayers are edifying and heard by Our Lord. Feelings are fickle. If every action we made was based off of feelings then the virtue of Faith would be pointless. Pray for Faith.

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You aren’t the only one, in fact you are in some good company… St John of the cross (read Dark night of the Soul), Mother Theresa, St Ignatius of Layola, consolation feeling the presence of God and desolation feeling Gods absence.

What you are feeling is desolation, often accompanied by guilt. Their solutions were to persevere regardless.

Peace and God Bless
Nicene

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Are you seeing a doctor for your mental health issues?

Anyhow, aside from that, there’s nothing strange or unusual about not “feeling” anything when you pray.

If you’re doubting the existence of God, then go and read some good apologetics works . I recommend Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft.

I’ll remember you in my own prayers :slightly_smiling_face:

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OP, I would agree with OScarlett_nidiyiliI.

From my personal experience, Catholic school helps teach you the faith, but it won’t cause you to embrace your faith. In school and at home, there’s someone there inviting/forcing you to pray or go to Mass or Adoration, but once you’re on your own, you don’t have much of that Catholic support guiding your actions or spiritual life. Unfortunately, many parents just leave it up to the schools to help us learn our faith.

Some people are born with a gift to embrace their faith (such as my sister-in-law, who knew from the time she was 12 knew that God was calling her to be a cloistered nun); the rest of us have to work hard to culture a relationship with God. In reference to the comment I agreed with, books help me immensely. I fell in love with my faith when I was 22 after reading “Rediscover Catholicism” by Matthew Kelly. I find books by Catholic writers, such as Scott Hahn, and especially books by saints, such as mystics, are good sources. I’ve also found that being active in a Catholic community (such as a parish) helps me too. Disclaimer: there’s not much available specifically for young adults in most parishes, which is a shame as young adulthood is probably when the vast majority of people lose their faith easiest. If you go to a university there may be a Newman Center present or in your diocese there may be a local Theology on Tap present.

What you are experiencing is normal. What you do about it will make a difference, but it’s a lifelong process. With my own faith journey, I have discovered it is up to me to find ways to culture my faith and prayers, despite living in a difficult place or going through a difficult time.

The quiet person on the other end of the conversation in your prayers is listening; the hard part is growing the ears to hear what He says. Honestly, I don’t have good ears to hear, but I do have, like everyone else has, the ability to discern what He might be telling us.

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I am mentally ill, too. I have depression and psychosis. I often have hallucinations in which I can hear voices. They tell me to commit suicide and other violent things. I guess the only thing holding me back from doing it is the grace of God. He has to save me on a regular basis. As I read the Bible, though, I see a God who cares about those who are mentally ill.

God loves all of His children, the healthy ones and the sick ones. The book of James says “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”. The reason why you aren’t feeling His presence could be because you aren’t drawing near to Him. Have you ever just stopped in the middle of whatever you’re doing and thanked Him for all that He does in your life?

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Welcome to CAF. :slightly_smiling_face:

In my long-ago youth, I did have great doubts. I went back to church. It helped.

YMMV, but what do you have to lose by trying it?

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Praying is talking to God. Talk to Him. He loves you.

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Going to Church instead of praying at home when you feel like He’s not listening, or does not care, or any other doubts, will definitely help.
Sometimes God lets us go through trouble waters to lure us back to Him or back to our community.

First, God Bless you. I try to say a chaplet a day and I’ll remember you in that today.

Second, I’ve struggled with anxiety and anxiety induced depression all my life. I’m in my mid 40’s though.

If I might be so bold, what you’re experiencing isn’t unusual, and its okay.

I think we need to look at this two ways:

First, are you saying you’re having solid doubts? If that is the case, then I’d buckle down and do some reading. The amazing thing about Catholicism is that it has the goods in terms of reason and logic. Yes, you have to have faith; but it’s a reasonable faith. You aren’t asked to believe in Santa Clause or the tiny man in the refrigerator who turns off the light when you shut the door.Look into Peter Kreeft (his website has excellent talks and articles; www.peterkreeft.com). Listen to Dr. David Anders and check out ‘https://www.calledtocommunion.com/’. The Bible Christian Society is good as well. When I want to go old school I listen to ‘life is worth living’ by Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

There is alot out there; and it’s really interesting.

Secondly, you might be having spiritual dryness as well as, or in place of, doubts. In that case, rejoice! (seriously). You’ve been given a cross that many great saints have shouldered. Pray to God and ask him to help you carry the burden in the best way to glorify Him.

But also… and Dr. Anders covers this as well… don’t worry too much about it. We live in an era where alot of denominations have the praise band and the hands in the air and the weeping at services; and that is fine for those who feel those things. But it isn’t necessary. I’ve never been that person. And it makes me uncomfortable. People looked at me weird at a Steven Curtis Chapman concert because I wasn’t getting my praise on. But to me quietly praying in front of the Tabernacle is where it’s at. And that’s fine too. You can have an intellectual faith that doesn’t necessarily deeply touch your emotions. And for you that might be a more strongly rooted sense of faith.

Finally; to borrow a phrase from P90X (might be before your time) ‘keep pushing play’. As you age and go through life you’ll face difficulties and struggles; and your faith will wax and wane. And that’s normal. Sometimes you’ll be so full of the Holy Spirit its like magic. Sometimes you have to struggle and fight to say an Our Father, or even as I’ve done ‘Lord, I’m just not with it today. I’m empty and not feeling your Presence. Have Mercy on me, look into my heart, and help me’. If that’s all you can do, do it. But don’t give up.

Just to piggyback on this… make sure you see someone about the mental health.

Mental health is just like physical health. If you’re right leg stopped working you’d go into the doctor. And if you’re brain is depressed or anxious or whatever it’s fine to go into a therapist. Don’t let it fester.

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