We should avoid allowing ourselves to drift away from God when we feel empty in our prayer because without him, our condition would just go from bad to worse. We should never waver from our belief that we are meant to be with God always.
Feeling helpless in our prayer can come to us anytime. We can experience such dryness that we would not feel the slightest need for God nor the need to pray, to go and talk to him. Many times, we would not know how to relate some situations of our life to God—like our current concerns, problems, challenges, or just our usual work, duties and responsibilities. We also can be hounded by distractions and temptations.
This is the time to act like those gospel characters—the blind, the lame, the paralytic, the leper, etc.—who did their best to get close to Christ, begging for help. “Lord, have pity on us,” they would say. And Christ always attended to them. There were even times when without being asked, Christ would offer his help.
We should avoid allowing ourselves to drift away from God when we feel empty in our prayer because without him, our condition would just go from bad to worse. We should never waver from our belief that we are meant to be with God always. So, even if we do not feel any attraction to him in what is supposed to be our moment of prayer, we should just persist.
Let’s remember what Christ reassured us. “Ask and it will be given to you. Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Mt 7, 7-8)
Yes, we really just have to persist. This is the expression and the power of faith, especially when everything else in our natural powers—our intelligence, will, memory, imagination, feelings, emotions and passions—fail.
We should just humble ourselves to trust in the providence of God so that we can still go on even if we feel dry and are in the dark.
A great man of prayer and a teacher of prayer himself, St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, had these tips to say about how to handle those instances when we find ourselves helpless in our prayer.
“Slowly. Consider what you are saying, to whom it is being said and by whom. For that hurried talk, without time for reflection, is just empty noise. And with St. Teresa, I will tell you that, however much you work your lips, I do not call it prayer.” (The Way, 82)
“You say that you don’t know how to pray? Put yourself in the presence of God, and once you have said, ‘Lord, I don’t know how to pray!’ rest assured that you have begun to do so. (TW 90)
“You write: ‘To pray is to talk with God. But about what?’ About what? About Him, about yourself: joys, sorrows, successes and failures, noble ambitions, daily worries, weaknesses! And acts of thanksgiving and petitions: and Love and reparation. In a word: to get to know him and to get to know yourself: ‘to get acquainted!’” (TW 91)
‘Et in meditatione meaexardescitignis. And in my meditation a fire shall flame out.’ That is why you go to pray: to become a bonfire, a living flame giving heat and light. So, when you are not able to go on, when you feel that your fire is dying out, if you cannot throw on it sweet-smelling logs, throw on the branches and twigs of short vocal prayers and ejaculations, to keep the bonfire burning. And you will not have wasted your time.” (TW 92)
“You don’t know what to say to our Lord in your prayer. You can’t think of anything, and yet you would like to consult him on many things. Look: make some notes during the day of whatever you want to consider in the presence of God. And then take these notes with you to pray.” (TW 97)/WDJ