I asked: Is prayer supposed to be like this?

Posted: October 5, 2015 in Freshly Pressed, The Daily Post
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By Charles W. Sidoti, BCC

“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”  (Matthew 6:21).  Of all the sayings of Jesus in the New Testament, I think this is one of the most clear and direct.  The words of Catholic author Robert J. Wicks echo the same message when he says, “Tell me what you think about most of the time and I’ll tell you who your God is.”

In pondering where my own treasure lies, I found myself thinking about my personal prayer time.  I asked myself, “Is my personal prayer time the place where my heart’s treasure is supposed to be?”  If it is, then there is a problem. While I definitely find consolation in prayer and consider it a most essential part of my life, I often find it difficult.  It is hard to make time for prayer.  Perhaps you can relate to this.  As soon as I decide that I am going to pray, something else comes to my mind that I just have to do immediately.  Some days my time for personal prayer never happens because I do the activity that came to my mind instead.  At other times prayer can seem dry and barren, not filled with consolation at all.

I sometimes think, “Is prayer supposed to be like this? Why does it often feel like such a chore?”  But I have come to see this struggle in a different way.  If our relationship is to be with the “Living God” and not some distant, imagined (pie-in-the-sky) god then it truly must be this way.  Think about it: If sitting alone in prayer were always easy, if it were always filled with peace and consolation, it probably would be all we would want to do.  Our participation in life and our involvement with other people would decrease dramatically, and we would not seek God there. The difficulty I find in personal prayer, I have come to see as God’s way of directing me back into the activity of daily life.  God is present there as well as in my personal prayer time.

Don’t misunderstand. Our personal prayer time is critically important, and you and I need to persevere in it.  We will receive enough consolation from it to keep us coming back.  But we also need to realize that the dryness and emptiness we at times experience in our prayer time is normal.  It is in reality the best spiritual direction we will ever receive, provided that we interpret it correctly and don’t become too discouraged.  remember that God chooses to come to us not only in our personal prayer time, but also in the midst of your daily activity, especially in the relationships we have with other people.

The realization that the dryness I experience in prayer is God’s way of directing me to pay attention to what’s happening in my daily life has completely changed the way I see my day.  The lesson here is to know that is to know that whether you are engaged in your personal time for prayer, or in the midst of your daily activities, God is present in that place.  As you gradually learn to seek God in daily life as well as during your specifically dedicated “prayer time,” you will realize that it is possible to fulfill the scriptural directive to “pray without ceasing,” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) because your “life” will have become a prayer.

Connecting Point:  What is the desire of your heart? Ponder the statement:
“Tell me what you think about most of the time and I’ll tell you who your God is.”

PrayerLord, open my mind that I may live in such a way that knowing and loving you may truly become the the desire of my heart.  Thank you for the desire that you have given me to pray to you in moments of solitude.  May I also realize that you reveal your presence to me in the activities of my daily life. Open my heart to your presence in my daily activities so that my everyday life may become a prayer.  Amen.

This article is from my book “Living at God’s Speed, Healing in God’s Time” 

Read the Introduction, Table of Contents and a Sample Chapter on Twenty Third Publications website:  http://store.pastoralplanning.com/liatgospiing.html

Buy it on Amazon $13.46:  http://www.amazon.com/Living-Gods-Speed-Healing-Time/dp/158595831X

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