How Should We Overcome
Difficulties in Prayer?
The Christian life is a struggle to live the demands of the gospel. Our prayer life reflects that struggle. The Catechism says, “We pray as we live, because we live as we pray” (CCC §2725). Prayer is not just a sudden impulse that overtakes us; it is a commitment. A common problem of prayer is distraction. Our lives are busy, noisy, and stressful. To deal with distractions in prayer, we need to deal with our lifestyle. 1f we live frantic lives, our prayer will be equally distracted. We pray as we live. Still, we should not become overly anxious about the issue of dis tractions. To some degree, distractions are inevitable. What is im portant, above all, is daily faithfulness to prayer.
Perhaps it is important to recall Paul’s words: “We are weak, but the Spirit comes to help us. How to ask? And what shall we ask for? We do not know, but the spirit intercedes for us without words” (Rom 8:26). Another common problem is wounded pride, hardened by our not being heard according to our own will or disappointed by our failure to achieve our own goals instead of God’s goals. To overcome this difficulty requires vigilance, an understanding that Jesus is com ing not only on the last day but every day. Sometimes difficulty in prayer arises out of our faulty sense of entitlement when we intercede for ourselves or others and claim that God has not heard our prayers. Since God has not responded as we wish, then the temptation is to stop praying. However, God hears and answers every prayer, knowing the future and what is best for us. Besides, our prayer should be focused on God, who gives, and not on what God gives. As the Catechism teaches, Christ prays for us, in our place and on our behalf (CCC §2740).
He never stops inter ceding for us with the Father who will hear his prayer when we pray faithfully. Another prayer difficulty is termed dryness. It is a moment when the person at prayer is without spiritual comfort. This feeling of de sertion should be countered by ‘sheer faith clinging faithfully to Jesus in his agony and in his tomb” (CCC §273 1). Another hindrance to prayer can be a sort of spiritual depression called acedia. It arises from a certain laxness and carelessness of the heart and from overindulgence in the flesh. Humility is the painful prescription for this depression, an acceptance of any discourage ment that only leads the humble spirit to trust more in the love of God.