Fighting to Pray

Fighting to Pray July 10, 2007

I don’t like to pray.

Let me explain. Every morning I drink my 2 cups of coffee with three tablespoons of flavored creamer. The only time I missed my coffee was during my two pregnancies. I also wake up and work out every morning for 40 minutes. When debate season begins, I make it to 98% of the practices and the tournaments. I also make it to my English tutor sessions. Yet, when it comes to prayer, my track record is not great.

My husband & I pray together every morning and evening and we pray before meals. We pray with our daughter before her bed time and we make it to our Wednesday night prayer group. We go to Mass every Sunday. But for my alone time with the Lord . . . I just don’t make the time.

The type of prayer that I dislike is the type where it is not about my wants or needs. It is about sitting still and listening for God to speak. This is difficult for me because it means that A)I need to carve out quiet time;time that is difficult to find and B)I have to quiet my own thoughts and focus on God. Thus, it is easy for me to find excuses not to pray.

Thankfully, another Christian woman also struggled to pray and she inspires me. St. Teresa of Avila struggled for over 20 years before she was rewarded with her visions of Jesus. In college I studied her famous autobiography, The Life of St. Teresa by Herself, and completely fell in love with this witty, courageous, human, woman. I felt relief when I realized that she also did not “get” the whole prayer thing. In fact, it was her father’s death that refocused her attention and inspired her to struggle for the next 20 some years. To this day when I become frustrated that once again I must start at the beginning, I think of Teresa, the first female doctor of the Church, and think if she can do it, so can I. After all, I did not like labor, yet at the end of my 38 hours I got to hold my daughter for the first time and it was worth every hour.

I would be interested to hear about your prayer lives. Are you satisfied with them? Do you find prayer easy?

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