Need Help with Prayer


#1

I am a Catholic only recently beginning to practice. The only sacrament I have received is that of Baptism. Due to my present circumstances, that is the only sacrament I am able to attain. My question regards the art of praying. I have read a couple of books, etc on the subject, but it’s the actual act of praying I am having issue with.

Over the last several years my family has been going through some very difficult circumstances (i.e. we have been alienated from the majority of my husband’s family, cheated by family members, loss of employment, now the loss of our house, etc). I have to believe these trials are a means for God to get our attention - and bring us “lost sheep” back “into the fold”. No matter how much I attempt to search for and work toward a closer relationship with God, I have been “on my own” for so long that I don’t know how to really submit to God’s will in my life. I say that I am turning my suffering, trials, hardships over to God’s care, but immediately bring it back to rest on my own shoulders. In turn I catch myself begging and nagging God to help me but I don’t give him the opportunity to help! I don’t know how to “let go and let God”. I don’t know how to be patient and let things happen on God’s time - not mine - when I have decisions to make and deadlines to meet and nothing is happening. I guess my faith is in such an infancy stage that I don’t know how to “see” or “hear” when God tells me something. I’m always afraid I have missed the answer he has given me - or too “blind” and “deaf” to receive the message.

Sorry to have rambled on, but I feel so lost and alone, that I feel I have missed the “forest for the trees!” Also, my husband tells me that we shouldn’t pray for ourselves, it is more beneficial to pray for your enemies and others in need, then our needs will be met also. This causes me more anxiety as I am so self-centered and self-focused right now because of my circumstances that I can’t even force myself to see beyond myself right now. It seems to be a never ending circle that I can’t get out of.


#2

Dear Kristina

You have had a hard time there. Give yourself a break and a pat on the back for coping so much better than most people and for coming here to express your desire to pray better and love God more. This is very admirable and very few people do it nowadays. You are very pleasing to God right now whether you pray or not. I’m not saying don’t pray but this holy desire you have to be with God in prayer and love him more is immensely pleasing to God. It is prayer in itself I would say. Forget about the past and any faults and failings too. God is not so concerned with these as so many people think. That is so long as you have this holy desire you’ve got and your making some effort. You are Gods child and he is madly in love with you. He will do anything for you so long as it’s in your best interest. How do you think you came to be on the right track with this holy desire? It’s very good that you want to learn more about prayer. There is nothing more important than this. Whilst you learn perhaps you can just do the prayers you know and try to put a lot of love into them and give these to God. It’s the love that God really wants. Be sure to get all the other sacraments asap too. It’ll make a big difference to you. There are many wonderful books about prayer. Why don’t you read the Little Flowers - Story of a soul. That’s St Therese of Lisieux. You can get some wonderful advice on this website too about prayer and everything - escrivaworks.org/
Give yourself a pat on the back and take it easy on yourself and just try to love God. If you ask God to help you love him more he will. Give it time though. God loves you friend.

I’m praying for you.

God bless and peace to you:thumbsup::slight_smile:


#3

Kristina -
Wow. I’m amazed that after all that, you turn towards God! So many would assume that He has turned away from them. His grace must be working really hard in you!

It seems like you’re having trouble with trust. I’ve had two prayers that have really, really helped me.

  1. At Advent one year, our parish priest gave us a prayer during his homily. He said that, as many times as we could think of it, we should pray: “Lord Jesus, please come into my heart. Help me to see Your presence and feel Your love.” He said that if we said it, it would really, really help our faith. It did.

  2. Try the Divine Mercy chaplet. This is a short prayer, said on a Rosary, that adores Jesus’ Mercy and love, and asks Him to help us trust Him (basically). You can google it and find out how to say it, and also how Jesus gave the prayer to Saint Faustina.

  3. (I can’t help it): As many times as you remember, say “Jesus, I trust in You.” Even if you don’t, totally - you’ll get there through His Mercy. You can even add “Help me trust You more” - which just came to me right now. Huh. I should start adding that to mine :).

I hope everything gets better and I hope that these things help.


#4

A priest gave me this little nugget last confession of mine:

Every time you plan and plan and then disaster happens, what do you have? Broken results and lost time. The plan is ruined.

If you let God take control, no matter what happens, no matter the mistakes you may/may not make, the plan is intact, because its God’s plan, not yours, nor anyone elses.

Its something I try to think on daily, I hope it can help you some.


#5

I heard Jimmy Akin talk about poor in spirit on one of the radio programs. He mentioned that it related to people who accepted their situation humbly and didn’t let it get to them.

I experienced similar things that you have mentioned and the turning point for me was when I finally submitted totally to God’s will with HUMILITY and SELFLESSNESS. This was the key for me. I let go of trying to fight the world in order to achieve most in everything. I just let it all go. Its not that I gave up, its just that I started to strive for heavenly things rather than worldly things. I embraced a deeper spiritual life, started reading Catholic books to strengthen my faith and made a list of what was REALLY important and cut out all the worldly things that just made me sad and depressed. I am now spending quality time with my son instead of other selfish activities and my marriage has had a real turnaround.

The more you focus on being selfless the better you are for it.
As the prayer of St Francis of Assisi says: “…O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console; To be understood, as to understand; To be loved, as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; It is in pardoning that we are pardoned; And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”

I am sure things will turn for the better. Just have patience and keep practicing your faith.


#6

Dear Kristina,

It is an act of charity to pray for others, but we do need to pray for ourselves as well. Remember to ask God for whatever you’re lacking - if it’s patience, or more faith, or trust in God and resignation to His will - ask for it! The fact that you even recognize the things you listed are a problem is a grace. You could take your second paragraph and turn it into a prayer. Remember on our own, we cannot be patient, have more faith, etc. All these virtues are God’s graces.

As far as how to pray, don’t worry too much about techniques and what to do. Just talk to God - tell Him what’s on your mind and what you need. He is your Abba, your Daddy, and He never tires of listening to His children. If what you are asking for is in accord with His will, he will provide it. If it’s not, He will provide something better.

As far as recognizing God’s answers, that comes with time provided you have a regular prayer life. If you haven’t done so already, I’d set a regular time (spiritual writers often recommend a morning prayer time) and commit to praying at that time every day. Even if all you can do is five minutes, start with that. God will give you the grace to want to spend more time with Him in prayer, and as you get to know God through regular prayer time with Him, you will slowly start to recognize when He is speaking to you. It’s kind of like the sun rising each morning - we gradually start to see more.

Understand that spiritual growth is a slow process from our point of view - we don’t become holy overnight. Brother Lawrence has a wonderful line in a letter he wrote about a nun who had this desire to be holy right away - he said of her, “She would go faster than grace.” Just pray, and trust God, placing your spiritual growth in His hands.


#7

I think what you’re experiencing is scruples and a knowledge of your failings and faults, and a thirst for Jesus. He, too, thirsts for you. Keep on praying and trusting in God. I remember I prayed for God to show me His Will for years on end, but I was so stupid back than because I didn’t realize His Will starts out with the basics: the Ten Commandments. Then it gradually proceeds, so to speak, to Him telling you what you must do in this life. It is normally through the desires which He has implanted in the soul: to pray the Rosary, or to be a priest, or to be Jesus’ spouse, or to found something, etc. Conquer yourself through Jesus - be a queen: a queen is a woman who has conquered her sin, and the Queen of queens is Mary - and persist like the woman in the parable of the widow and the judge; persist in begging for His Will. First He will prepare you to do His Will, then He will tell you His Will.


#8

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.