Struggling to Pray?
Why do we struggle to pray? We have been told countless times that prayer is a necessity for our spiritual life, just as sleep, food and water are essential to our physical health. Yet, many days we fail to make time (even a few minutes a day) for the God who created us and loves us more than we could ever comprehend.
More than most people, I feel I am guilty of this. On my drive to and from work every day, I go past two Catholic churches and once I reach my office, I am less than two miles away from the nearest church. I am amazed at how many days go by where I am unable to set aside even 10 minutes of my day to sit before the Lord. I'll let my own sloth (or as my mother tells me, being a workaholic) come between me and my Creator by not taking time to pray every day.
In a moment of spiritual direction, Fr. Larry Richards once told me that the problem with prayer is that is always leads us to the cross. In our humanity, many of us will skip out on prayer in order to avoid the cross. Maybe the thought of silencing our phones for 30 minutes to sit quietly with God scares us, or potentially we are scared of what God might ask us to do. Because of this, it can be easy for our day to day tasks, interactions and obligations to get in the way of committed time with the Lord. Fr. Larry reminded me that whenever I am tempted to skip prayer, or when I’m struggling to enter into a deeper relationship with Christ, I should remember three numbers. That's pretty easy right? Well, it's easy for me to remember them, so I thought I would share them with you. Here they are: 1, 1, 1
They refer to Matthew, Chapter 1 Vs. 11.
This is the part of Matthew's Gospel where Jesus is being baptized. The clouds open up and the God of the Universe looks down to say, "You are My Beloved Son." This is a good place to start when we are searching for the right way to pray or having trouble finding the time to do it. It’s easy to remember three numbers, and those three numbers remind us of one of the deepest needs in all of our hearts: Love. Before we can pray, before we can have a true relationship with God, we need to be reminded that He loves us. When we do not spend enough time with the Lord to fill that need within our hearts, we get caught up in garbage and our sins. Mother Theresa once spoke about people in India who are so hungry that they would eat animal feces in order to fill the emptiness of their stomachs. So, within our own spiritual lives, we are sometimes filled with so much emptiness that we are willing to fill our soul with worldly (and sometimes garbage-like) things in order to try and fill that deepest need.
As Young Professionals, let's make a more concerted effort to not only pray more, but also to recognize God's love for us and develop the loving relationship that He so desires. When you are struggling to set aside 10 minutes for honest, distraction-free, simple prayer, remember those three numbers - 1, 1, 1 - and know that God wants you to recognize yourself as His beloved son or daughter.
Written By: Ryne Bessmer, President of YCP Omaha