Monday, November 19, 2012

Whar are the common objections to prayer?

Sometimes we have erroneous notions of prayer. Some people view prayer as a mental activity, others as an effort of concentration. Still others reduce prayer to ritual words and postures. Many Christians unconsciously regard prayer as an occupation that "takes up time". Thus they are quickly discouraged. sometimes the mentality of this present world can penetrate our lives if we are not vigilant. For example, some think that only what can be verified by reason and science is true; yet prayer is a mystery that overflows both our conscious and unconscious lives.Others overly prize gains and profit; thus prayer, being unproductive, is useless. Still others exalt sensuality and comfort as the criteria of the true, the good, and the beautiful;whereas prayer,the "love of beauty" (philokalia), is caught up in the glory of the living and true God. Finally, some see prayer as an escape from reality; but in fact,Christian prayer is not a divorce from life. Finally, sometimes one confronts what we experience as "failure" in prayer: discouragement during periods of dryness and sadness if we have not been heard according to our own will; wounded pride, stiffened by the indignity that is ours as sinners; our resistance to the idea that prayer is a free and unmerited gift; and so forth. The conclusion is always the same: what good does it to pray? To overcome these obstacles, we must battle to gain humility, trust, and perseverance. [See:CCC2726-2728]

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What are the common hindrances to prayer?

Distraction is the habitual difficulty in Prayer. It takes our attention away from God and can also reveal what we are attached to. Prayer presupposes an effort, a fight against ourselves and the wiles of the Tempter. A simple way of overcoming distractions is to turn our hearts back humbly to the Lord. Sometimes prayer is affected by dryness. Dryness belongs to contemplative prayer when the heart is separated from God, with no taste for thoughts, memories, and feelings, even spiritual ones. Overcoming this difficulty allows us to cling to the Lord in faith. even without any feeling of consolation. If dryness is due to the lack of "roots", because the word has fallen on rocky soil, the battle requires conversion. Other frequent temptations that threaten prayer are lack of faith and acedia. Prayer is the moment of truth for the heart: what is it real love? Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Acedia is a form of spiritual laziness due to decreasing vigilance and a carelessness of heart.[See CCC 2732-2733] WHENEVER I START PRAYING, BAD THOUGHTS ENTER MY MIND WHICH FORCE ME TO SIN AGAINST THe ALMIGHTY. I FEEL THAT SOMEONE IS TRYING TO STOP ME FROM PRAYING, ESPECIALLY SINCE I LED A BAD PAST. WHAT SHOULD I DO TO BE SUCCESSFUL IN PRAYER? If you feel you had led a bad past,reconcile yourself with God with a good Confession. Don't worry about the "bad thoughts" that come to you during your prayer. These are seeds of distraction sown by Satan who doesn't want you to pray. What is important is not that pray well, but that you give to God your special time of prayer. Even after 15 minutes of prayer if you feel that you didn't pray successfully, don't worry, what is important is that you have decided to dedicate at least 15 minutes to God daily.