If you read any quotes, books, or stories about the saints you will see a common theme.
1.Prayer is always the answer.
2. Prayer is not easy.
For many of us we understand #1 but we have great difficulty implementing it into our lives #2.
Hopefully, my story can give you hope and allow you to keep persevering in prayer.
I remember sitting outside of my university’s science building a few years ago. I was talking to a friend and asking for some guidance on prayer.
Our conversation went a bit like this:
Me: I’m having some trouble praying. Like I want to pray, but when I do, I don’t feel right.
Friend: What do you mean?
Me: I want to pray but I almost feel restless whenever I do. I feel this deep unrest, and it makes me not want to pray.
This was a few years ago and it did not get any better. It got so much worse.
Whenever I prayed, I was restless. I felt uneasy about myself and almost felt more unsafe. I felt intense guilt. I didn’t like it one bit. I felt like a horrible person for it.
Why when I try to draw close to God do I feel horrible?
My folded hands were almost a stimulus for my anxiety.
This “feeling” took a gun to my prayer life. Over the past few years, I prayed a lot less. My nighttime routine seemed to fade away. Praying the rosary became a less frequent occurrence. Even during Mass, I resisted finding a quite place in my heart to talk to God.
My lack of prayer was not apparent. Looking back, I realize this now; however, it was very camouflaged.
Instead of prayer, I would use other “stimuli” to capture my attention. I would jump into the world of social media. I would post funny things in group chats. I would watch a lot of useless youtube videos.
I was constantly distracting myself from this earthly unrest by not living.
Well, this all took a turn the over the last few weeks.
After much reflecting on God, reading about the lives of the saints, going to Mass often, Christ-centered conversation, and more reflection I realized what was going on.
I lost the fact that I was just a human. A human jailed in the flesh, constantly being attacked by the devil. Prayer would not always come easy. The devil wants nothing more than to take us away from our King. The devil wants to destroy our relationship with Christ.
“The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak” Matthew 26:41.
So I decided to prayer. I decided to lose my life in order to save it.
I decided to feel the horrible unrest. I decided to feel the guilt and the lack of peace.
I decided to do this all for Him. I decided to fight this battle against the enemy and praise my Lord Jesus Christ even if it did not “feel” correct.
And you know what happened.
Last night, I was praying the rosary.
And out of nowhere, I was hit by a deep peace.
Whenever, I am hit with despair and distress I am inclined to pray. I am drawn to let the Lord know what is going on in my life.
St. Padre Pio once said,
“Prayer is the oxygen of the soul.”
And he is right. My soul was gasping for air the past few years. Each time it got a breath, I allowed “my feelings” to drown me. I let the voice of the devil and the unrest placed in my heart to stop my lungs from working.
If any of you out there have had a similar experience or are going through a similar one, I encourage you to pray.
Pray even when you have insane doubts.
Pray even when you don’t want to.
Pray even when you feel won’t be heard.
Because prayer is a fight.
And the good news is.
Christ has already declared victory.