God’s ways are not ours
A prayer made with sleepiness and distraction is no less pleasing to Me than one made in consolations and alertness.
Your subjective dispositions do not impede the action of My grace in your soul. Learn, then,
to trust in Me to do the things that you cannot do of yourself,
and allow Me to work in you secretly, in a manner perceptible to the gaze of My Father,
and by the operation of My Holy Spirit.
A Benedictine Monk. In Sinu Jesu: When Heart Speaks to Heart
--The Journal of a Priest at Prayer (pp. 126-127). Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.
One difficulty in prayer is the understanding that the death to self that Jesus talks about is the fruit of a deepening love and trust in God. Growth is slow for most of us, it is for me.
Prayer, will lead us towards the thorny path of self-knowledge.
To be unmasked is not a pleasant experience. It is then, in the unmasking, that we need to go deeper into prayer when we feel the least worthy to even attempt to pray. This kind of idea, of only praying when we ‘feel’ good enough is from one’s ego, which wants to keep the status quo, to seek to block any upsetting developments in our souls. Prayer seeks to do the opposite, to shake us up, and in that to be able to make deeper acts of trust in God’s faithfulness to us, even when we can become unfaithful at certain points in our lives.
Only in self-knowledge can we look at our true state, and our need for healing and grace. Prayer shows us our lack of love of God, of our using God as some sort of pain-killer, and when that does not seem to work, that is when we are called to deeper trust.
God’s ways are not ours. So while praying when tired, or distracted, or very restless, or bored, yet we continue, the root of that is a true love of God. Slowly it is learned that it is true, that in our sufferings we are united to the Crucified/Risen Lord. In that is true freedom. Where we get out of our own way and love God for God’s sake, not for some magical relief from the common, and necessary sufferings that we all encounter.
In life and in death we are the Lords. It is in secret that the Lord works, and it is in our growing humility and self-knowledge of our own need of grace that allows us to become ‘willing’, instead of ‘willful’. True humility does not lead to neurotic guilt, but spurs on to trust more, to love more, and to understand that God’s love is not based on our feelings, our successes, but flows from God nature as revealed in the parable/story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
Yes life is hard. We fail. We wander off. We have violent inner emotions that can overwhelm us, but in it all, the Father seeks us, waits for us, and in God there is nothing to fear in any kind of servile manner. What we need to fear is ourselves, and what our choices make us into. We can be burdened with sickness, or fatigue, yet through it all, our simple desire to pray is pleasing to God who knows our hearts.-Br.MD