Tag Archives: not failing us

In Which Prayer is Natural, but Also Difficult

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 2, 2015

draw near to God

In Which Prayer is Natural, but Also Difficult

I am a great proponent in the idea of both/and. Not either/or. This works in many areas. Not either apples or oranges. (What about pineapples? Peaches? For that matter, bananas?) Not either right-handed or left-handed. What about ambidextrous people? Where do they fit in?

I much prefer both/and. Talk about the option of Door Number Three!

When I think about prayer, sometimes, this additional option comes to mind. Especially when I think about the topic of today. In which prayer is perfectly natural, but at the same time difficult. People often do not understand how these two things can be occurring at the same time. In the same person, even.

I was drawn to the difficulties in prayer. (Naturally.)

As Howell says, there are two kinds of comfort in difficulties of praying. First, even saintly people of prayer like Mother Teresa (and Henri Nouwen, my addition) had difficulty praying, so I am in good company when I have problems praying.

Second, a quote from Rev. Howell: “Prayer isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t there.” And, from Archbishop Oscar Romero, martyred in his country of El Salvador: ‘God is not failing us when we don’t feel His presence. . . . Let us learn from that cry of Christ that God is always our Father and never forsakes us, and that we are closer to Him than we think.’

As the Apostle Paul says in Romans 8, the Holy Spirit is our Helper. The Spirit truly helps us when we can’t pray, or are bogged down in difficulty, or are far away from God.

This is grace. Thank You, God.


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