I pray. I never get any answers. Never. I ask over and over for direction in what to do with my life and nothing is ever revealed. I ask for guidance on moral issues in my life and I get no direction. It’s just very painful tonight and I don’t know what to do about it. I feel like I’m a person who needs a lot of direction. Other people seem to go through life and they know what they’re doing and where they’re going and they don’t seem confused about things that I’m easily confused by. So, why can’t I get any help from God?
I’ve felt that way before. Do you have a spiritual director? Devotion to saints? Try fasting and offering up suffering? Spiritual reading, different styles of prayer–formal, informal, silent. mix it up. Don’t give up ! Ask to borrow Mary’s faith when you pray.
I am in the SAME EXACT situation. I have no clue what my direction in life is and neither is God giving me clues. It is terribly painful and depressing, that is true.
I do have a spiritual director but I just began with her and it’s only by email and phone and not very often right now. I have a spiritual friend too. I pray every day and I read the bible every day and I read spiritual readings every day and I’m trying to get better with habitual failings. I feel God’s presence more than ever right now. But somehow, I just don’t have any direction. It’s very hard because I’m going through a divorce and I don’t have a job and I don’t know what to do in that area most of all. I’ve never felt God’s call to anything before. I didn’t feel it to marriage, but I only got married because my husband wanted to be with me. Well, the only thing I’ve ever felt a call to is to become Catholic. Other than that I’ve felt no call to any vocation or mission or career or anything whatsoever. It’s so hard. Especially right now.
This sounds like a good place to start. Perhaps spend some time in Eucharistic Adoration reflecting on your call to become Catholic and what it is about being Catholic that you treasure, that brings you peace and joy. Then nurture that, and as it grows, see where it leads you.
“… where your treasure is, there also will your heart be.” Matthew 6:21
Hi Consoler & Others in the same position,
Having been through the same situation that you have, please allow me to give you a few ideas. My situation was so bad that I would say “No Reply At All” by Genesis was my favorite song. One day, as I was going to get into my car to go to Sunday Mass, I said aloud “Why am I even going anymore? You don’t listen to me anyways.” I started to walk back toward the house and then back to my car slowly as I realized that I was being tempted to stop going to Mass. I went to Mass many times in a blur as I sat and just reflected only on my situation.
Let me tell you a story or two. Fr. Peter Rookey once told me on the phone: imagine two people with the same problems you do. One prays, talks and listens to God as best as he can; one does not. Who will God answer first? I said to Father the one who prays and tries to listen to God. Yes, indeed, Father back to me. So, even if you don’t think God is listening or even cares, keep talking to Him, keep trying to listen to Him. You will find Him.
Another story: in the confessional, a holy priest told me after telling him my situation, that it is even OK to be occasionally angry with God. He has big shoulders and knows exactly your human situation, better than you do! He understands. (Now of course, the key word is occasionally, not perpetually!)
Take what you like, disregard the rest, as you please.
Go on a silent retreat. Even three days of silence would be helpful. The Jesuits offer many retreat houses across the country for free. If you can’t get to one, try one at home (no newspaper, computer, TV, radio, etc.)
Take a step in any direction that attracts you. For example, if you have a hobby, perhaps checking into whether that hobby could become a business for you. Or, send a resume to someplace you had not thought of before. My current job is at a place where I never thought I would be, and loving it, because, one day I decided to stand in line at a job fair for something I had no clue about. But, I took that small action. Oh yes, I should tell you I got the job not because of what my experiences were, but rather because I told a great joke. So, even God can use humor to make a path for you.
Realize too that you are in a season: at this point, God is not giving you the consolations that you have relied on in the past. This is a faith-testing moment. God did not give your parents instructions for you on the day you were born, but He does give you His words in the Bible, His Body in the Mass, His absolution in confession, etc. He does use other people’s words to you, He does use the beauty of nature around you. He does have a will for you! Seasons change. God realizes that you need His help…He enjoys that you are asking for it. Keep it up!
Review Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Pray it aloud many times a day.
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you: I placed a statue of St. Joseph in my home; I made a box which I have place all my petitions into it and place it at the feet of St. Joseph. I have placed thousands of pieces of papers with one or two word petitions, people’s names, situations, etc. To this day, probably 10 years later, I know of only one petition that St. Joseph has not answered yet…and I truly think that he is working still on that one! More on that at my website: www.CatholicChurchSaints.com .
Another prayer I said hundreds of times a day: “St. Joseph, I place all my trust in you!” This calmed me down and assured me that I have heavenly intercessors that I can call on at anytime when God seems so, so silent. Let them do the talking for you!
Offer a Mass for the Souls in Purgatory and ask them to help you in return. I will have to write another book just on the favors I have received as a result of their intercession for me.
I have come to the realization that all of us go through this in our lives. God may not be too visible to you at the moment, but take it from me, He is with you and closer now to you than ever before!
I will add all of you to my prayers and my St. Joseph Petition Box!
You may try LISTENING as you recite prayers. The conscience is subtle, but powerful in guiding us.
It is hard. God does listen. He cares.
It’s all about faith and love in God. Keep praying. Keep going to mass.
Try saying the Divine Mercy Chaplet (link in my signature). Turn your prayers to others. Show god how deeply you love him by asking for mercy of others :
**Dear Lord Jesus, my blessed saviour I humbly sacrifice myself to you
I humbly give up my life for you
I humbly give my body to you
To do thy will so that those who suffer
From physical tortures and ailments
Are able to live their lives without pain of suffering.
Dear Lord Jesus, my blessed saviour
I am willing to take on those pains
So that they may be healed
From the terrible inflictions that they live with.
Dear Lord Jesus, my blessed saviour
I offer myself to you so that all sinners who have died today And those in purgatory can be forgiven of all their sins And rest in peace in your merciful love.**
God bless you
Often God talks to us through the ordinary things and people in our lives. And He did give us brains as well, and surely intended us to employ them.
So in seeking your answers listen to the still small voices of trusted advisors and your own intelligence and think about what they have to say, and stop waiting for thunderbolts and whirlwinds and booming voices from on high.
Ask for His guidance of course - and then trust yourself and have faith that He will set you back on track of you go too far astray.
My own experience of God is that He can be very, very frustrating at times. He can also take a long time to make something clear.
But let’s take a **Biblical **example, to quote our Protestant friends. St. Peter was our first “Pope”, although he didn’t take that title at the time.
But until Christ called him away from his nets to become a fisher of men, he did what other fishermen do - cast nets, cleaned and gutted fish, spread them out in the sun to dry, supplied the midlle man in the market, and probably smelt like a fisherman (you know, “Old fishermen never die - they just smell that way”.). His wife probably sprayed the place with Airozone after he went to work.
Until Christ came along he probably thought he’d just see out the rest of his days as a fisherman. The call, when it did come, was shocking and out of the blue. And even then, all he was told was “Follow me.” There was no blue print, no goal setting, no “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, no plan, no nothing - just* follow me*. And immediately he threw down his nets and followed Christ.
But not one minute before it was made clear.
Moses was another case in point - he spent 40 years on the backside of the desert, before the peculiar incident of the burning bush took his attention. And when he realised what it would involved ie. confronting Pharaoh, he’d have been quite happy to spend the next 40 years doing the same thing. Suddenly looking after a bunch of stupid sheep didn’t seem so bad after all.
You’ll probably find the call, when it comes, will be out of the blue, somewhat startling, and unexpected.
In the meantime, pending further instruction, just keep on doing what you’re doing - catching fish, watching sheep, or pushing a pen.
God’s heard you all right - don’t worry about that. It seems to me you’ll just have to wait - He’s big on patience I’m afraid. He’s the God of the Bedouin plodding through the desert on their camels for days on end, rising over the sand dunes likes ships at sea, as much as the self important, high powered executive in his Lear Jet.
And I suspect He has more time for the plodding Bedouin in the end.
I always think that there are more worthy people in the world to receive Gods grace than me
I would love to feel God in my presence and in my soul etc. Why me anyway? I am just a poor sinner!
Doesn’t stop me from still wanting Gods love etc. keep praying and loving God. Be sincere
You may need to rethink your idea of prayer. I’m sure you already know that God is not a vending machine. Prayer is more about spiritual communion with God than about presenting requests. Requests are but a small part of the experience of prayer, and should be presented with an attitude of total deference. When a request is not answered, it is good to continue presenting it, but you must adjust your attitude to recognize that it’s not the will of God that you should obtain it immediately, and ask for the graces necessary to carry on without it.
God hears you. You mentioned you were called to be a Catholic. Well the Catholic church on earth is the church militant. So be a soldier for the church. There is a quote from Erwin Rommel, one of the best military minds that ever was. The quote is “In the absence of orders, go find something and kill it.” Of course that’s not what you should do, that’s not the role of the church militant. But the idea is solid. Be a Catholic, do what a Catholic does. It sounds like your looking for something solid and physical. The Corporal works of mercy then. Volunteer. Ask your priest how you can get involved. Your labors will bear fruit, you may even discover God’s plan for you.
Can I recommend a book? It is “The Essence of Prayer” by Sr Ruth Burrows, a cloistered Carmelite nun. Sister Ruth has said that she never feels the presence of God in prayer, and never hears answers, yet she trusts prayer and God, and trusts the central place prayer has in our faith life. She trusts that God is working with her in prayer, regardless of whether she feels or hears anything or nothing. She has quite amazing faith, I think.
I wrote a synopsis of the book, though it really is worth reading the whole book. The synopsis is here: pilgrimofgrace.wordpress.com/2012/08/28/essence-of-prayer-ruth-burroughs-a-detailed-synposis/
P.S. If you want to hear God speak to you then read scripture, and if you want to hear God speak to you audibly then read it aloud
I would like also to add of not forgetting to pray for others with the same need, i find it makes a huge different.
When i think about it, i think it took me quite some time, to notice that my prayer were indeed answered.
Sometime, we have expectation that thing should be this way but our prayer can be answer in a complete different way. Maybe your task, is to have faith that your prayer is heard.
Don’t give up and continue to pray. If you struggle with something, fasting is quite powerful. Pray the rosary also, Mother Mary is the bridge to her son.
I think God always answers us, it’s just that sometimes we can’t hear Him because we don’t know how to listen to Him. It’s like we are in a sound-proof box, and only prayer will make the walls of that box start to crack so we can hear Him clearly. All of us struggle with hearing God. I have only heard him clearly a few times, and other times it has been very subtle. I agree with the other poster about God working through other people and our world to show you answers. Ask God for a sign. It may not happen today or tomorrow, but something will happen- someone will say something to you, or something will happen that will give you the answer that you seek. It’s really neat when it happens, you kind of double-take as you realize that you KNOW He is answering you. I have a few suggestions also, though I think a lot of the people posting here have good suggestions, so take what seems the easiest for you from all of these suggestions.
- One of the barriers to hearing God in prayer is distraction. Learning how to clear the mind (clear, not empty) and focus only on God is a skill. Technology is a barrier to developing that skill. If you are always on your phone, computer, watching TV, etc, it can make it very hard to turn that stuff off when it is time to pray. I suggest minimalizing your technology consumption when you are in your leisure time. Over time, this will help still your mind for better listening. (I need to take this advice, too :))
- I am a big fan of reading books on spiritual matters that I am struggling with. Right now, I am reading Sanctuary of the Soul, by Richard Foster. A lot of it is about listening to God. One of the suggestions he gives, is that when you are praying and your mind wanders, to start praying about whatever your mind is wandering about. I know this isn’t your exact problem, but it is still good advice! Anyway, there are tons of books out there written by people who have gone through the same thing you have and have come out the other side with a lot of answers. They might have some good suggestions for you.
- I am a big Rosary fan. I know it is time- consuming, but it is a great tool for bringing you closer to God. If you can’t pray the whole 5 decades everyday, just pray one, or two. What I like about it, is that it is a prayer designed entirely to bring you closer to God. All you are doing is thinking about Jesus’s life. You aren’t asking for anything (actually, you can pray it with intention, but you do that at the beginning, and then you just focus on Jesus’s life). It’s hard to explain to someone that hasn’t done it a lot , but you DO actually start to feel closer to God- and that leads to hearing Him better. I suggest a scriptural rosary, so you do not have to do a lot of concentrating. Reading related scripture in-between Hail Marys, helps me to stay focused, so that I can hear God if he has anything to say. At first, you may feel like all you are doing is reciting Hail Mary’s, and may feel like it is all very superficial, but don’t worry about that. The more you do it, the more it will gain depth, and even if all you do is say the words, without really thinking about them, it will make some impression on you.
Another thought, one of the reasons that God may not be answering you is that you aren’t asking the right questions. The Rosary just leaves you open to anything God has to tell you. It might be a totally different direction than what you originally thought.
One more thing, the few times I have actually heard God in prayer, it has been pretty subtle. It will be like, I suddenly get a thought that is out of place for me- again, it’s a double-take kind of moment. That’s what it feels like for me. Others may have different experiences. Anyway, I hope this helps!!
This whole thread is filled with excellent advice!
Thanks for all the answers