Friday, June 25, 2010

Problem With Prayer - Next

So, you ask after reading that last entry, where's the problem??

Well, the years have certainly gotten better and deepened my faith. My husband even found God again after abandoning him so many years ago (years before we met, when his problems that ultimately led to our problems began). My husband was a cradle Catholic who just dropped the Faith when it couldn't help him overcome his "stuff". Shortly after I was confirmed, he went to Confession for the first time in over 20 years (!!) and began going to Mass regularly and receiving the Eucharist.

My children have all been baptised. My son received his First Holy Communion about a month after I was confirmed and loves to serve at the alter during Mass. My husband still needs to be confirmed, but we'll just keep praying on that one, shall we? Ok.

So, as wonderful as this new found Faith is, as great as the Church is, as much as I love Jesus with all my heart......I still have a hard time with prayer.

I believe every single Truth the Church teaches and I believe the infallibility of the Pope to lead us. I believe this is the One True Church left to us by Christ himself.

Here's where I end up in problems (I hope this doesn't seem silly, or petty, or weird, or, or, whatever. It's just how it is in my head).

God is all-knowing, omniscient, and omnipresent, everywhere. I believe this.

What does God need me to ask for that He doesn't already know? He knows everything that has every happened, is happening, and ever will happen. How is my teeny little human prayer going to change that? He already knows if it's going to "work out" or not. He already knows what the outcome is. He had already seen it happen. Does my prayer really make a difference?

Please don't think this keeps me from praying all the time or in every instance. It just, well, it hinders my prayer.

Someone says to me, "Please pray for my brother. He's in the hospital with an illness and we want him to get better." I can't figure out what to pray. I know that he is either going to get better because God already planned it that way, or he is not going to get better because that is God's plan. I usually just pray, "Thy Will be done."

Another instance where I feel hindered is when I have my own needs to pray about. Forget that completely. I can usually argue in my head and end up not praying anything because HE ALREADY KNOWS WHAT IS BEST FOR ME, even if I don't like it.

Part of my problem too, I know, is that I grew up knowing I didn't deserve anything. I deserved nothing good. Nothing happy. I was not good enough to ask for things and I wasn't good enough to have anything good happen to me anyway. (Thanks Mom & Dad!!)

Then I feel guilty. Guilty for not praying. Guilty for not doing what I should be.

I can usually pray when those prayers are the kind that revere Him or Mary. I have no problem with the Hail Mary, the Our Father.

It's the petitions I have a problem with. I feel guilty not praying, then I feel guilty asking for what I need. Like my needs matter to anyone, let alone Him. Then I feel bad for thinking that.

It's an endless circle I let myself get caught up in. Again, not that I never pray....I just have problems sometimes.

I remind myself that it is OK not to "feel" anything with prayer. I do not believe that Faith is directly connected to "feelings". I know that I usually need it the most when I "feel" nothing. I still go to Mass when I feel nothing. I still say the prayers. I still live my vocation. I have learned that "feelings"/emotions are not what we base our lives and our Faith on.

My faith is firmly rooted in belief. My marriage in firmly rooted in vows. I know that I will not always "feel" love for my husband in the lovey-dovey, teenager, hormone-crazed way I did when we first me (not that I was a teenager when we met, just using it as a descriptor). That doesn't mean there is no love, or that the love is meaningless. Love is shown in many ways, by living my vocation and he living his.

The same applies to my faith. I don't always "feel" the presence of God in my life. But I know He's there. I know He carries me when I am down. I know He is with me in my joys. I believe He won't abandon me. I believe He wants happiness for me. I believe He will help me, in ways I may not understand at times, to become a better disciple, a better mom, a better wife. I believe He wants me to pick up His Cross with Him and Carry It. I know that struggle is part of this life and will help purify me for the next. I don't always "feel" these things, I just know them.

I try to apply the same to praying. I don't feel like it. I don't usually feel anything profound. But I know I should.

*sigh* So that's it. I have problems praying. I don't do it enough, and I don't exactly get the point ('cause He's all-knowing). Anyone else have this problem?


Anonymous said...

That makes sense, but I think it is less of a problem than you know. Prayer is first and foremost about relationship. We pray to praise, to love and to acknowledge our littleness before God. That's why we ask. Not that He doesn't know, he does. It reminds us we are completely dependent on Him when we humble ourselves and ask for graces and good outcomes. So it's not about "talking God into" what we want or think we need but rather about recognizing that we are nothing, have nothing and control nothing. It's one thing to recognize it, it's another thing to admit it to the One who Is, has and controls everything.

And, you know, God likes to be asked! :)

gotta run to Austin or I'd probably say more!

Michelle said...

Totally understand your confusion/struggle/trouble whatever you want to label it with. Isn't it a relationship we have with God? Just like a good friend? We still sit and talk to our good friend about things even if they may already have a good idea what our story, trouble or struggle is. In prayer we are discussing with God what we need, want, or if we just need to voice our thoughts to Him that is all knowing. He needs to be acknowledged like a good friend needs to hear from us. He is our true BFF!! So we pray, listen, plan and act. Thanks for sharing your struggle, it helps me to reiterate for myself what and why I pray. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

I know what my kids want, usually. But for the relationship to be full, I want them to tell me. I want them to ask and hear me answer. This is basic to having a relationship. God is our father and he wants us talk to him. Yes, he knows. And he has a plan in place. But, when we go to him with our requests and spend time with him, it is like when my daughter climbs into my lap and asks for something. It blesses my heart, and it is the beginning of our friendship. The communication lines are being formed, strengthened and grown. Spending time with God is more than your wish list, but the wish list is a great start. I believe that there is also power in prayer. Didn't Abraham change God's plans concerning Sodom and Gommorah? I don't think the future is set in stone and the bible clearly teaches that we should, "ask and you shall recieve. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door shall be opened unto you".
Keep praying in Jesus name. There is power there, and your heavenly father loves to hear from you.

Acerbica said...

Hi, I was directed over here by Candyrant's page, first time reader. I feel like we were potentially separated at birth...breastfeeding, Catholic, conversions within marriage, cloth diapering, homeschooling (not yet, little one is still a baby), want a ton of kids, etc.

On prayer: same struggle here, but my priest friend said to remember that 1.) In the Bible, God changes his mind based on people's prayers (think of cities he wanted to destroy, but didn't after the people turned to prayer, or the prophet asked for mercy). 2.) Prayer doesn't change God (He's always merciful and loving, whether or not we ask him to be). However, prayer changes us. When we pray, we can become more aware of all that he has done for us, recognize our own shortcomings and ask forgiveness, worship him for his goodness, and share our concerns with our loving father, and ask for his intercession. I like using Lectio Divina as a method of praying/reading the Bible, so that it isn't all me blathering and not listening.

MamaMidwife said...

Thank you all for the wonderful and insightful comments.

I guess I just never really thought about it like that. The relationship point of view really is helping it all stand out. My friends know my wants and needs too, but I still tell them about it over and over. Kids too.

And the humbling is always a good thing.

Thanks again ladies! I love hearing from you. And I especially love your outpouring of help with this tender issue!! I will take everything you said to heart. :)

Acerbica - thanks for stopping by! I am glad you found me. :)