How to Pray When It's Hard

December 12, 2022 | NEW  HEARTS

We are not alone when we struggle with prayer. Even the great saints acknowledge prayer is a battle. We are told in the Catechism, ‘The great figures of prayer of the Old Covenant before Christ, as well as the Mother of God, the saints, and he himself, all teach us this: prayer is a battle. Against whom? Against ourselves and against the wiles of the tempter who does all he can to turn man away from prayer, away from union with God. We pray as we live, because we live as we pray. If we do not want to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ, neither can we pray habitually in his name. The "spiritual battle" of the Christian's new life is inseparable from the battle of prayer.’ CCC 2725

With this is mind, it can be sometimes be difficult for Catholics to remain faithful to their prayer life. Below are 5 tips proven helpful to many devoted Christians.

1. Pray daily. Connect with God throughout the day even when it is difficult. Busyness and forgetfulness are some cited reasons for a stagnant prayer life. Some people find setting a reminder alarm on their phone or computer to be helpful. Many set a religious image to their home screen devices to serve as a visual reminder each time the phone, tablet, or computer is used. Create a habit by choosing a specific time of day to commit to pray. For some, the best time to pray is achieved by waking earlier than the rest of the family and praying in the quiet of the morning. For others, the best time is to pray at the end of their day. To increase success, set realistic goals. Set a specific time, place, and amount of time dedicated to your prayer. As one grows in faithfulness to prayer, the desire for time with God also grows. This leads to praying not only at scheduled times but many times and locations throughout the day. No longer is prayer something worked into the day, but instead the entire day is oriented around prayer.

2. Pray with others. To cultivate a faithfulness to prayer, having accountability partners is very helpful. Invite a spouse, friend, or co-worker to pray with you. Have a regular prayer partner who checks in on your prayer life. Join a Bible study or small faith sharing group. Many people report having a spiritual companion leads to self-accountability and in time a deep desire to please only God. Find a spiritual friend who can be honest with you and who truly desires your greatest good…a life with God.

3. Pray new forms of prayer. To ignite your prayer life consider trying a new form of prayer. The Rosary, Novenas, the Chaplet of Divine Mercy, and Liturgy of the Hours are some examples of written prayer the Church gives us as a means of connecting us to God. If you’ve never connected with a saint or your guardian angel, do a little research on a favorite saint or angels and ask them to join you and intercede for you in your prayer. Many Catholics go to required Sunday Mass each week, but far less venture into the church on the weekdays for Mass. Adding a weekday Mass once a week can be life-giving until the following Sunday. If you’ve never prayed with Scripture, consider reflecting on a verse a day. Let the words of the Lord soak into all you do throughout that day.

4. Pray using tools. We live in a digital and media era as never seen before. There are many negatives associated with such luxury, but there are also many positive gifts especially in our digital world. There are Catholic apps such as Hallow, IBreviary, Word On Fire, Catholic Answers, Formed, and many more. Catholics have access to podcasts, guided meditations, prayer, reflections, and studies.

5. Pray with a grateful heart. When we recall the many gifts and blessings of our lives, we cannot stop pausing to thank the One who gives us all. Out of gratitude and love, we not only want to thank Him but spend time with the One who loves us so much He gives us our very lives, the lives of those around us, and the possibility of an eternity in heaven with Him.

We urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, cheer the fainthearted, support the weak, be patient with all. See that no one returns evil for evil; rather, always seek what is good [both] for each other and for all. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:14-18



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