Quick Lessons from the Catechism: The Battle of Prayer (a.k.a. Prayer is a Battlefield)

If you grew up in the 1980’s like the author of this blog or at the very least listening to the radio as your kid’s were growing up in the 1980’s, you should remember the Pat Benatar hit – Love is a Battlefield. And although this may be true on certain levels, one of the real battlefields for us as Catholics is our daily prayer life. We are nearly ¼ into the Season of Lent and the question we should ask ourselves is – Has my prayer life increased so far this Lent? Am I praying more? Am I committing time for prayer? Or does the statement still remain – My prayer life a battlefield.

First thing to do is recommit yourself right now to begin praying more. Once you’re finished reading this blog post, offer up some prayers for the people in your life and of course the author of this blog will take all the prayers you will give him. Second, designate a specific time in your day/week when you are going to pray. We all have calendars on our Smartphones. Schedule your prayer time as you would schedule a meeting. And third, don’t fret over your prayer life. The greatest of the saints struggled with their prayer lives at one time or another. Even the Doctor of Prayer, St. Teresa of Avila, had struggles on this battlefield. I am not saying don’t pray, but avoid beating yourself up over it. Satan wants us to find despair in any place possible. Don’t let it be in your prayer life.

To help us on our Lenten journey this year, let us draw from the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which teaches a whole lot on prayer. The Church knows that prayer is a battlefield and that’s why there is a section in the Catechism titled, The Battle of Prayer. The Catechism states…

Prayer presupposes an effort, a fight against ourselves and the wiles of the Tempter. The battle of prayer is inseparable from the necessary “spiritual battle” to act habitually according to the Spirit of Christ: we pray as we live, because we live as we pray. (#2752)

In the battle of prayer we must confront erroneous conceptions of prayer, various currents of thought, and our own experience of failure. We must respond with humility, trust, and perseverance to these temptations which cast doubt on the usefulness or even the possibility of prayer. (#2753)

The principal difficulties in the practice of prayer are distraction and dryness. The remedy lies in faith, conversion, and vigilance of heart. (#2754)

Two frequent temptations threaten prayer: lack of faith and acedia – a form of depression stemming from lax ascetical practice that leads to discouragement. (#2755)

Filial trust is put to the test when we feel that our prayer is not always heard. The Gospel invites us to ask ourselves about the conformity of our prayer to the desire of the Spirit. (#2756)

“Pray constantly” (1 Thess 5:17). It is always possible to pray. It is even a vital necessity. Prayer and Christian life are inseparable. (#2757)

What to “pray constantly”? Recite the Jesus Prayer – O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, Have Mercy on Me a Sinner.

When it comes to our prayer life – Do Not Be Afraid! Keep on Keeping On! The Lord is with us. Embrace the battlefield, take hold of it, and conquer it. For in the end, Christ has already given us victory.

500th Blog Post on TomPerna.org

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