Painful to pray


This might belong in prayer intentions, but maybe not. I want to connect with others here spiritually, and find out how others live with their disappointments without giving up on prayer. Forgive me if I sound self-centered ( because indeed I can be very) but I feel weary of prayer at times. For years it has been only a walI—and I often feel very very tempted to “fill myself up” with other stuff ( alcohol, food, etc.,) and not God. I don’t always win that battle, but lately I have been fighting the good fight. However, I feel so weary, that the very thought of prayer gives me a lump in my throat for wanting to cry. There is nothing, no feeling of God that my doubts infest me like flies.

I do go to mass, and I go to confession once a month. Today I went and I came back home with just the conviction I have to change some stuff in my life, or suffer the consequences of further hurting others.

The confessor I choose to regularly confess to is the only connection I have to God. You all here are my only other connection, and this prayer I find no comfort is my connection to God, as unconnecting as it feels.

If this is “too much” information or “kooky” sounding, then I am sorry for being a ninny and needing to dump this somewhere. I am hoping someone can tell me that things will be different—but how could you know.


There was a time when prayer was easy for me-- I could enter a certian relaxed frame of mind and just feel connected to God.

Haven’t felt that way for years…

But a late priest friend who went through something similar, told me that real faith is continuing to try, even when there’s no emotional reward or intellectual satisfaction in it.

If the ‘things you need to change’ in your life is a sinful situation, then I think maybe you have your answer…

But if not, I guess all either of us can do is soldier on, being faithful to God.


Thanks for your reply—yes, there is always sin to turn away from. And the horrible disconnection must come from my wrong-doing—that is the safest thing for me to assume. I will “soldier on” as you wisely put, but I will soldier to keep from falling into temptations like I mentioned in my original post.

Knowing that my bad time with prayer comes from struggle with sin makes me feel *even more *disconnected to God. I can’t pray well right now though, because I feel a ** real **physical pain over it. On some level I know I deserve it—I just want it to stop. It keeps me up at night, like right now.

I am not looking for medical advice, so I hope the moderators have mercy on me and just let me vent. Thank you for your understanding Sam–and God bless.


It might be helpful if you make an appointment with a priest, especially the one you usually confess to, and discuss these things with him. A spiritual director is very important to one serious about their faith, even when it feels as though their faith has dried up.

This feeling of spiritual desolation could be caused by many things, and it usually is not easy, accurate, or good to try and decipher things alone.

Willfully seeking sin could cause such a separated feeling. On the other hand, the greatest of saints have felt the same way.

The great preacher, St. Paul of the Cross who founded the Congregation of the Passion (the Passionist fathers and brothers), felt this way for most of his life.

Look at what the world found out a few years back about Mother Teresa – we all thought she must have had a “hot-line” to God, and there she was feeling all dried up in her prayer life!

The difference between saints and sinners is that the saints keep on trying. They keep on talking to God even when they *feel * as though He is not listening. They keep on *living * for God even though they are sorely tempted to say, “What’s the use?” They keep on struggling against their sinful tendancies no matter how many times they fall.

God knows exactly what we need. He sometimes plays hide-and-seek with us that we might seek Him more fully. He sometimes tests us with silence that we might pray more earnestly to hear His voice in our lives. But I can tell you from personal experience that He will never test us more than we can bear, and when we come to the point where we feel as though we cannot go on, He will swoop down to us as a mother eagle swoops down to save her young, and you will know, know that it’s Him, beyond a shadow of a doubt.


Because some of us have gone through exactly what you describe here…a Dark Night of the Soul!!

But some of the greatest saints—especially those devoted, as Mother Teresa was, to Christ on the Cross—have suffered through what St. John of the Cross called “the dark night of the soul”:** a sense of loss, of abandonment, of the absence of God. **The dark night is not the same as a lack of belief, though it may be a lack of faith, that supernatural grace that St. Paul describes in Hebrews 11:1 as "the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. bears some similarity to “Come Be My Light,” the recent work on Mother Teresa’s letters, which reveal that she suffered through a long period of spiritual darkness.

Padre Pio’s letters suggest that he too struggled with a descent into darkness. But because “Words of Light” (his biography) lacks the careful editorial comments and notes that accompany Mother Teresa’s letters, readers have no context with which to understand his journey.

True, the editor does provide a short introduction to each chapter. But the excerpts themselves flow, one from another, with no grounding in the actual facts of the saint’s life.

In the chapter called “I Live in a Perpetual Night,” the excerpts are heart-rending and disturbing, and one is definitely reminded of Mother Teresa’s spiritual journey.

This reviewer longed to know what exactly was happening in Padre Pio’s life when he wrote, “One cannot describe the state in which my soul finds itself. In certain moments, if it wasn’t for divine grace supporting me, I would be …almost in despair.”

It WILL pass & the fact that you endured will bring great blessings upon you.


Things WILL be different, if you do what you know you should. if you have nothing left in prayer and mass, then give that nothing back to God in prayer and Mass. he created the whole world from nothing, and so there is a whole world of possibilites He can work from your nothingness


I find it hard to pray - because there are too many distractions in life. TV, computer - whatever. Then, I come here and read so many praying Rosaries - Chaplets - having prayer lives that put me to shame.

My recommendation is to start small. Begin your day upon waking, making the Sign of the Cross. Say the Morning Offering. It offers everything you do to Our Lord, making your day a prayer. But that doesn’t leave us off the hook either. Try small. Say a chaplet - or one decade of the Rosary. Find some prayer books that contain a group of prayers, novenas, etc. You can pick and choose the ones you like - you’ll start to find yourself almost having a daily regimen, if not memorizing the prayers.
The Divine Praises, the Anime Christi (Soul of Christ, Sanctify me) - there are so many - Consecration to the Sacred Heart. Start small - and perhaps your prayer life will grow.
Stop into Church - even if you don’t feel like praying. Someone’s in there who’d love for you to visit. You don’t have to say a word…just sit or kneel there. Maybe He will do the talking.

And - Keep Holy Water near your bed. I do…and in recent months I’ve blessed myself and the area before I go to sleep.


Also know that your bad time with prayer may come from a FALSE sense of guilt, a poor self-image (who could love ME?) & scruples. I’m praying for you.


These are some very good ideas.


To Gemma Rose, Sam Maloney, Cradle Catholic,And Conservative One, and glenaitken:

I want for you to know what relief you give me. And it is more than just your great advice that is a relief—I felt a sense of being released from the bondage (isn’t that weird???) of weariness, and have an experience of God as our Father, a real Personal Being Who wants only the best for us—even if it is learning through trials----trials that would not be “more than we can bear”, as Gemma put.

It is almost embarrassing to complain about this considering that Mother Teresa and Padre Pio endured far greater dryness ( I bet they did! Look what they had to accomplish!—yikes!) I suppose putting up with a bit of dryness makes one less self-centered in the long-run—instead of praying for the “feel-goodies”, we pray to connect to God and live in His Will—despite whether the feeling of connection is there or not.

Glenaitken said to give God the “nothing” that I feel and he can bring "something out of it—an insightful reference to Genesis, and how He brought the universe into existence from nothing—what FAITH in God’s power over my piddly life this inspires in me!

I just thank all of you for the thoughtful replies and the prayer advice. It has brought light to my life! I strongly believe in the connection among *us all *as Lovers of Christ. Your caring replies have shown that to me.


I don’t know if this will help or not, but I’ll tell you my story anyway. For years, (since being a Cradle Catholic) I use to recite all the prayers before going to sleep. It just didn’t seem like it was a big deal in some ways. After all, God surely must have known these same prayers by heart after hearing them night after night.

Fast forward to many many years later…

I find it’s easier to “talk” to God. I talk to Him while I drive Semi, as I would a person who may be sitting next to me in the Truck. I’ve even asked Him questions, Why did you make the desert, there’s nothing here? (I get bored crossing the Desert as it seems so dead to me.) I’ve asked God, Why all the wasted land? And then of course He shows me the answer…for me, (after all there are many people who like the Desert) He shows me the flowers, the green grass and the pretty trees, for years I took them for granted. Yet by Truck driving across the Desert week after week I start to see and learn things about God being so creative.

I also pray at night and at other times, but I find having my converstations with God has drawn me closer to Him, so that prayer time seems to be special now. I also have found that by praying for others instead of asking for this or that, has truely indeed blessed me more than I can say.

Try talking to God, just have a conversation with Him. Sounds silly maybe I know, but it worked for me.

Hope this helps.


Something that might sound strange… I started wearing the Brown Scalpular. I think a month or so later I felt the urge to look into the Lay Carmelites. Your prayer life might be propelled by exterior devotions: the brown scalpular, green scalpular, rosary, and miraculous medals as well as pictures and statues of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary around your house, car, everywhere. Prayer without verbal or mental prayer!!

And if I still couldn’t pray or in between praying to soldier on, I’d read various spiritual books: The Story of a Soul (St. Therese of Liseux), **True Devotion to Mary **(St. Louis De Montfort), The Way of Perfection (St. Therese of Avila) the Divine Office (originally for priests). I’ve heard Imitation of Christ and Dark Night of the Soul are also good but haven’t read those two myself. Then it is also necessary to have the *discipline *of prayer and lovingly saying the rosary. St. Louis De Montfort says the rosary is the most difficult prayer to pray because it is the most powerful and *the devil tries the hardest to make you hate the prayer because it is the most capable of defeating him in everything!!! *So one must persist most when it is hardest. Remember, Mary smashes the devil with her heel :):slight_smile: :slight_smile: . So for myself I had to make a mental commitment, unrelated to how I felt, in order to just begin the discipline of saying the entire rosary (20 mysteries) daily. Why don’t you look into the 33 day preparation for commitment to the Immaculate Heart of Mary mentioned by St. Louis? And also the unrequited love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is exceedingly perverse and corrupt and severely, mortally sick! Who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is With Thee, Blessed Art Thou Among Women and Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb Jesus, Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for Us Sinners, Now and at the Hour of Our Death

Saint Alphonsus Liguori wrote on the utility of the Confraternity, `In the many missions I have preached, I have come to the conclusion that there are more sins in one single man who does not belong to the Confraternity of Mary than in twenty who do’.

The holy Curé d’Ars said, `If anyone has the happiness of being in the Confraternity of the Rosary he has, in all corners of the globe others who pray for him’.

And he added: `For a member of the Confraternity of the Rosary to succeed in losing his soul, he would have to do himself as much violence as the other faithful do to save their souls, so abundant are the graces of this Confraternity’.

‘There is no surer means of calling down God’s blessings upon the family . . than the daily recitation of the Rosary’ (Pope Pius XII).

`If families will but listen to my message and give our Lady ten minutes of their twenty-four hours, by reciting the daily Family Rosary, I assure them that their homes will become, by God’s grace, peaceful, prayerful places . . . little heavens, which God the Author of home-life has intended they should be.’ (Father Peyton).

‘. . . Therefore we are sure that our children and all their brethren throughout the world will turn (the Rosary) into a school for learning true perfection, as with a deep spirit of recollection, they contemplate the teachings that shine forth from the life of Christ and of Mary Most Holy’ (Pope John XXIII)

(Above quotes taken from:

“The Most Holy VIrgin in these last times in which we live has given a new efficacy to the recitation of the Rosary to such an extent that there is no problem, no matter how difficult it is, whether temporal or above all, spiritual, in the personal life of each one of us, of our families, of the families of the world, or of the religious communities, or even of the life of peoples and nations, that cannot be solved by the Rosary. There is no problem I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.
With the Holy Rosary, we will save ourselves, we will sanctify ourselves, we will console Our Lord and obtain the salvation of many souls.” (Sister Lucy of Fatima)
Our Father, Who Art in Heaven, Hallowed Be Thy Name, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done, On Earth as it is in Heaven, Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread and Forgive Us Our Trespasses As We Forgive Those Who Trespass Against Us and Lead Us Not Into Temptation But Deliver Us From Evil, Amen!!!

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the Lord is With Thee, Blessed Art Thou Among Women and Blessed is the Fruit of Thy Womb Jesus, Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for Us Sinners, Now and at the Hour of Our Death

Glory Be to the Father and to the Son and the Holy Spirit!!! As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be!!! Amen!!!

O my Jesus, Forgive Us Our Sins; Save us From the Fires of Hell; Lead All Souls Into Heaven, Especially Those Who Are In Most Need of Thy Mercy!!! Amen!!!:)*


No way are you a ninny or kooky!!!

It sounds to me as if you are experiencing one of the “Dark Nights”. If any of the situations you want to change are sinful, that is the first priority. I would also very strongly suggest getting a spiritual director if you can. Too, I would suggest reading all you can of St. Therese’s Little Way. Since you’re obviously a very busy wife and mother, her way seems like it could be quite an appropriate way to follow Him more closely, without it feeling overwhelming as some of the Saints writings might.

Just my :twocents:

P.S. If you want to post here just to vent that’s certainly ok, too.:wink:


You are so welcome. I was really impressed with the post from Conservative Catholic. The ideas he expressed…start with saying just one decade of the rosary, etc…are such good ones.
I’m glad that things are better. :slight_smile:



I believe what you say is true. I don’t want to speak for others, but I think when* I *struggle with sins or even just with disappointments, I think God is “displeased” with me (like a parent would be). I tend to personalize disappointments as being my fault----for instance, if something beyond my control happens, I find a way to make myself responsible for it—I even find a way to interpret it as sin. And so God becomes a demanding parent. Man—I have enough real sins to cope with, and I make them up.

You might ask, " if you know you are making them up then what is the problem? why don’t you just blow it off?" That is where scruples come in I guess, the doubts that pester me.

Also, what is strange is this sort of *counter intuition *about God’s Love for us that that I have at times. What I mean by that is that some ideas come into my head that I know must be the instruction of the Holy Spirit. I begin to think of how things work slowly in nature, how the movement of landmasses create different land formations not visible to our eyes over thousands and thousand of years. But it happens. So all kinds of thoughts along this line occur to me, and I begin to think that maybe God “forgives” the time it takes to change.

I then know I have to give the consequences of my sin over to His Will, and hope He somehow brings some good out of that with His healing.

I know something (Someone) is trying to move me beyond the elementary understanding I have of God. I know it is self-centered to only think of how I FEEL----thinking of how I feel means I think of God as just an extension of *my will, and that if I don’t * feel good, then God must certainly be “unhappy” with me. In that case, God is not even Reality in my life—my prayer only becomes a mechanism for “bringing me comfort” and not real communication and connection to Him. Sooo… God does have His own thoughts (far beyond ours); He “sees” us differently than we think He does, despite our feelings on the matter. He is Living, Breathing, and Real.

Praised be to God and His Holy Spirit.

edit: and thank you for your prayers too, Cradle Catholic—I will not forget you in mine either.


Me too! I come here to see how others pray, and I learn that others are praying 15 to 20 decades of the rosary and going to daily mass— It makes me want to start with BIG devotion…but it overwhelms me. I think starting small is a good idea! Then before I know it, will be going to masses during the week.


Yes of course this helps—I think your relationship to God is special, and you made it that way by elevating your times alone driving your Semi to a prayerful encounter with God. I see by your experience that prayer really is about connecting with God as Friend of our soul, as you question Him about the desert, for instance. I see that He cares enough about how you see His Creation. He brings you deeper into His Perspective.

You ask God, “Why did you make the desert, there is nothing here…why all the wasted land??”

This makes me see, (thank you for showing me…I think you are trying to show me that), that dryness is not a “bad experience”. Like one could ask God, "Why must I endure this dryness in prayer…there is nothing here, why all the wasted years???"
Then He shows us the details of its beauty. Learning about other people’s love for God, and how they love Him so much they would help me, a stranger, is the desert’s beauty.


This is good to know! I have religious statues and pictures—especially one of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which my husband and I did when we first got married. It has been a feat to fit all the names on the Enthronement picture of Jesus of every new blessing coming along!

Yes it is good to know that just having blessed religious articles is in itself a perpetual prayer—I forget that.

Okay, I will start praying my rosary again—I needed reminding.

And thank you for praying for us on this thread.:slight_smile:

'. .


Yes, trying to keep the sin to a minimum with prayer Haven’t yelled for sometime and am trying to reasonably talk out my feelings instead of getting “gangsta all over people”:okpeople: as one of my daughters has put it. ( hey, at least she has a sense of humor about it)

Your two cents is worth a mil’, Brigid! It makes me feel like a human being again, if that makes any sense—like God COULD love me (and that He does still want me). I want to read St. Therese’s Story of a Soul again—I read it 20 or so years ago, but it is always good to re-read something years later—our perspectives change due to experience, and it may just have a different effect on me.

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