Inhibitions about prayer


#1

I do not know exactly what it is about me that causes this, but whenever I know I should pray (like when I am in a state of temptation, or when I first sit down at church before Mass) it is hard for me to actually do it. I have finally memorized the prayer for meals that many catholics recite, so before meals I easily say that one, but for the more serious times it is hard for me to turn to God like that. It feels really awkward usually and that’s kind of why it is hard. When I am being tempted I think "okay, I need to turn from this and pray for grace… but what do I say? That’s really weird… just like “God, I’m being tempted… help?” And I know that prayers don’t need to be complicated or anything, in fact I’ve also memorized the Jesus prayer, so when I do pray I usually say that, but just saying that prayer alone and then… what? stopping? that doesn’t seem right… Do I just talk about my day? Brainstorm good things to pray for like wisdom, or conversion?
It might help to know that I use to be protestant. What type of protestant doesn’t matter lol. I am just 16 and before I became catholic I never really had much to pray about. My prayers were always just “ugh, another day. Thanks for life lord, and forgive me for my sins. Amen” Now that I am catholic I actually have the fullness of faith and I am so lost in this realm of real prayer. When I go to confession the priest often times says to pray a decade of the rosary or something, and I know how to do that, but it is still strange to me to just say this one thing over and over… That being said, I really like the divine mercy chaplet… Maybe that’s because it goes faster, lol that is kinda superficial of me, but it’s probably true.
Part of the problem is also my inferior knowledge about the whole “state of grace” deal. I am in mortal sin on an almost regular basis, but ever since my conversion to catholicism, it has become less and less regular. Anyways, Being in a state of mortal sin I feel like "Why bother even praying right now? There isn’t forgiveness until I go to confession and I probably wont be able to go until next week because I don’t like to ask to go and we only go to it every Saturday."
I am sorry this is so long, let me wrap it up. I have inhibitions when it comes to prayer. What should I do? (also, I am contemplating being a priest deeply, so my pastor gave me “the liturgy of the hours” book to pray, but it is hard for me to follow regularly…) And one more question, Does this all sound like it is too much to talk about over the internet, and perhaps I should get a spiritual counselor? If so, how can I do that? I don’t have my license, I do not like to ask my parents for things like that, and I do not want to discuss any of this with my parents, which I guess might be part of the issue but the only way my family life will get better is when I move out for college.

Thanks in advanced for any help. Even just life experience would be greatly appreciated.


#2

When praying the Rosary, don’t focus so much on the repetition of it but focus and concentrate on each mystery. If you contemplate on each particular mystery – thinking deeply about it, picturing it, feeling it, joining yourself to it – the repetition goes away.

That’s very mature of you to admit the superficial nature of your comment – good for you. Might I give you a suggestion: there are seven deadly sins that Satan uses to wear us down – pride, envy, gluttony, anger, lust, avarice and sloth (laziness). Try praying constantly all day every day to the Holy Spirit and to Mary during the rest of this month to help you overcome the spirit of sloth. If you truly, and with devotion, do this you’ll be amazed at how you feel about prayer as June begins.


#3

Thank you dcrowmik, that’s a good idea, and I think I’ll try that starting tomorrow.


#4

Many people find it helpful to follow a formula for personal prayer. One that is often used is the ACTS formula - Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving and Supplication.

First spend some time adoring and praising God for Who He is and for His goodness.

Then express your sorrow for the ways you have offended God, by sin or not trying hard or whatever. Think of your sins, ask forgiveness, and find ways to do better with God’s help.

Then find things to thank Him for, including even the difficult parts of your life which eventually bring you closer to Him.

Finally, ask Him for the things you need and for blessings for others in your family, your circle of friends and the world.

As a former Protestant, you may have a deep love for Scripture. You can pray with the Psalms, for sure. Also, something you can do is to read a Gospel story and imagine yourself as one of the characters in the story and observe what everyone does and listen for whatever God wants to tell you. When I do this, I am always impressed with the things Jesus says and does, full of wisdom and often totally unexpected.

Finally, spiritual reading and study are things you can do outside of your prayer time to fuel your prayer. You may read about some aspect of God that you find fascinating and take that idea to prayer with you.

I hope you find some of this helpful. Welcome to the Church!

Betsy


#5

all the things u have said are good questions but the only thing you have to do now is go to your friendly parish priest and ask him those questions he will be the only one to answer and help you with your uneasyness. dont let anything get unanswered because the only thing that is going to happen is losing your faith. you and i dont want any of that.

you will be in my prayers


#6

I doubt that you are constantly in a state of Mortal sin. Your 16. There are three requirements for something to be a mortal sin, 1) it has to be grave matter. It has to be something that is really important. That could be something really important to you or something really important to the teachings of the church.
2) You have to know that it’s wrong. 3) you have to decide to do it anyway.

A few quick examples. A big Chem test is coming up, You didn’t study or you did but you don’t get it. You deceide to cheat. That could be a mortal sin. Probably would be. Number 2. Your out and you see someone cute. Your hormones catch up and your mind wanders until you snatch it back. Probably not a mortal sin because while you were tempted at the point of decision you stopped. Even if you continued down the road a little it might still not be mortal. But that is where a priest comes in at confession, to help us learn to discern these things.

As for praying, it can be as complicated as repeating psalm 119 from top to bottom or as simple as, “God, help me.”

What can be very helpful is to either use certain traditional prayers or use the idea behind them. For instance, some people pray certain prayers at certain times. The liturgy of the hours is prayed, I believe, four times a day and mostly changes every day. The Angelus is prayed three times a day. You can google the names and find them. It may be helpful to simply get out of bed and ask God to guide you and protect you today.
“Lord, please be with me today and guide me and strengthen me.”

Then a grace before Breakfast, lunch and dinner with a quick reflection about midmorning. Sit at your desk and close your eyes, “Still with me, God? Please help me to be with you.” repeat as needed during the day. Your prayer life will expand somewhat naturally from there. Prayer is like a muscle, you have to exercise it to get the full use of it.

May God be with you and may His face shine on you.


#7

When you feel ashamed to pray you probably are in a state where you are partially delectating in the temptation, in other words a part of you likes it and you’re ashamed of that so you can’t pray and face God like that.

What you need to do is work on your initial reaction to the temptation so that you absolutely are disgusted with it and hate it, so that you defeat whatever passion the devil presents to you before you even have to think about willing against it.

Also, when you have given in, if praying for protection is too hard at first, instead turn away from the temptation as best you can and make acts of contrition and THEN pray for protection.

Basic prayers:

St. Michael prayer for protection from the Devil.
3 Ave Marias for purity.
Acts of Contrition (aim for perfect)

P.S.

Stay away from all addictive habits, so that you gain the virtue of temperance and then you will not be in a state of grave sin habitually. Change your lifestyle completely and be SURE to stay away from and hate the NEAR occasion of sin. Learn that by heart.


#8

Well I appreciate your doubt, but I’ve looked into this as seriously and thoroughly as I can, and the only way that it isn’t mortal sin is if I do not get a decision on the third part. Before I was catholic this mortal sin had become a regular part of life, despite having a small feeling that it probably wasn’t good… Now that I am catholic I know that it is wrong, but I might be innocent, because it had been so ingrained into my life that it is very hard to distinguish if I actually chose it or not… So I am erring on the side of caution.

There’s not much need to worry though, I’ve gone 6 days and so far so good, saying a Hail Mary every so often throughout my day helps a lot, I feel so much closer to God just having been doing that a couple days now. Especially when I was donating blood, I was doing a double unit so I went through the whole Rosary, and it was great.

[quote=Shin]When you feel ashamed to pray you probably are in a state where you are partially delectating in the temptation, in other words a part of you likes it and you’re ashamed of that so you can’t pray and face God like that.

What you need to do is work on your initial reaction to the temptation so that you absolutely are disgusted with it and hate it, so that you defeat whatever passion the devil presents to you before you even have to think about willing against it.

Also, when you have given in, if praying for protection is too hard at first, instead turn away from the temptation as best you can and make acts of contrition and THEN pray for protection.

Basic prayers:

St. Michael prayer for protection from the Devil.
3 Ave Marias for purity.
Acts of Contrition (aim for perfect)

P.S.

Stay away from all addictive habits, so that you gain the virtue of temperance and then you will not be in a state of grave sin habitually. Change your lifestyle completely and be SURE to stay away from and hate the NEAR occasion of sin. Learn that by heart.
[/quote]

Learning by heart is quite a task, but it is what I’ve been working on for a while and it’s really starting to settle in. It seems like after I confess and I am forgiven there are a couple things that could happen, either I will gravely sin just a couple days afterwards, OR I will try very hard and my zeal will last for about half a week, then I slowly start coming down from the clouds I was in, and then I’ll sin. Usually the first option happens after I confess about the second option happening… I hope that made sense.

So in other wards, when the second thing happens, it is so discouraging that after confession it is still hard for me to get over, and then when I fail so soon again that it motivates me to try harder, and then the cycle continues. This is why I have come to this forum asking about this inhibition to prayer because I have realized that my prayer life was lacking something fierce, so maybe adding in lots of prayer will keep my spirits up and allow me to rid of that sin once and for all.

Thank you all for your wise responses.


#9

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