Starting your prayer life
Prayer is an essential aspect of our spiritual lives, yet many of us struggle with it. However, this is normal because prayer, like any relationship, takes work to develop. At first, we base our prayers on good emotions and experiences, but true love and connection with God can only be fostered when we move beyond relying on these highs. We must learn to love God for who He is and not just for what He does for us. This kind of love takes effort, and there will be times when prayer feels dry and distant. During these times, we should seek help from a spiritual director or confessor and continue to pray, even when it feels difficult. Choosing to pray, even when we don’t feel like it, is a sign of true love.
Dry times in prayer can be seen as a gift from God because they allow us to move beyond our feelings and go deeper in our relationship with Him. It’s important to remember that prayer is not about having great emotions or experiences; it’s about choosing to love and connect with God regardless of how we feel. In fact, 20 minutes of prayer where we struggle and feel dry can be more pleasing to God than 20 minutes of easy prayer with great emotions.
To overcome difficulties in prayer, we must understand why we pray. We are commanded to pray at every opportunity and the Holy Spirit helps us when we don’t know how to pray. Prayer is essential for success in fulfilling God’s vision for our lives. However, there are many reasons why we let our prayer lives slip, including discouragement, doubt, impatience, temptations, laziness, dryness, and physical, mental, or emotional problems.
To improve our prayer lives, we should frequent the sacraments, establish a prayer routine, set aside a specific time and place for prayer, use devotional aids, pray with scripture, pray with others, take time for silent contemplation, practice gratitude, cultivate a spirit of detachment, make a daily examination of conscience, offer up our sufferings, ask for intercession from the saints, practice self-care, and never give up on prayer. With perseverance and faith, we can make prayer the center of our lives and deepen our personal relationship with Jesus.