When Prayer Becomes Active, The Reason Why It Is Difficult, And When To Fight And Retreat

Image by Radoan Tanvir from Pixabay

When we first begin to commit ourselves to dedicated prayer it’s not easy. If it were that easy everyone would be doing it, right?

How do we know when the prayer is really beginning to take effect? It’s that moment when we wake up and our first desire is to say, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me the sinner.”

It’s when we are sitting watching our favourite movie and suddenly turn it off to pray the prayer. It’s when we go to the toilet and instead of looking at our phone (hello modern world you know who you are), we pray the prayer rope instead.

How we get aware development is taking place is when our longing to pray the Jesus prayer overcomes the very desires we had that were in competition with it. There were moments when I’d rather watch my TV show first and then pray. Even reading my favourite spiritual book prior to prayer had been the order of the day.

How we truly know prayer has begun to take root, is when we choose it above all other activities. Putting God first is no simple task and it requires a lot of work on our behalf, but when we do put Him first, great things are bound to happen.

Why is it so hard to pray? Why do we view it as a chore? Because prayer so angers the demons that our feeling of boredom is influenced by them. First, we must prove ourselves to the Lord by pressing through tears and boredom while praying. Sometimes that can last for up to as long as God allows it. It can be a year or two before you begin to reap any benefit. The Lord knows what every person is capable of.

However, sometimes it can be a matter of only days. Confession and Holy Communion is important. A soul in the state of Grace has an increased chance of reaping the great benefits of prayer as long as we pray it attentively. That’s not to say someone totally ignorant of the faith won’t benefit from praying the prayer either. God has been found by those who never sought him.

When we first set out to pray that boredom and wandering thoughts are all of the demons jumping on us. This tactic works especially well upon the uninitiated (those who have no understanding of spiritual things). Their job is to discourage us from prayer. Who wants to pray the prayer when all they ever get is feelings of boredom and uncontrollable wandering thoughts? It’s the thought of this that makes a person give up. Would you walk down the same street you got mugged on yesterday? No. It’s human nature to avoid unpleasant feelings.

In my martial arts class, there was an exercise where all were instructed to jump on top of me. They were instructed to beat me while doing it. I must admit the weight of their bodies were overwhelming. My job had been to get out of it while dealing with the disorientation brought on by the beating and shouting.

That, my friends, is what happens when you pray. The devil piles on top of you beating you down with wandering thoughts, feelings of boredom and thoughts of being a great sinner who shouldn’t be praying. Outside of your prayer, he beats you with sins. Sometimes you feel then you can’t pray because 1. You’re a great sinner who shouldn’t be engaging in prayer and 2. Because the feeling you get while praying is difficult to emerge from.

Therefore, you’re being aggressively attacked on two fronts: one while praying, and the other while going about your daily business. All of it is designed to stop you from praying. Even in dreams, he came to me shouting for me to stop praying the prayer trying to scare me. Those of you who remember that post where I explain in detail what took place will fully understand.

There were other martial arts exercises where I’m fighting one person and everyone stands behind me shouting. Again, the purpose of the exercise is to train me not to get disorientated and remain focused.

This is the devil’s tactic, to discourage and disorientate his opponent with loud shouts from the depths of Hell. Your job is to seek refuge in Christ and learn how to fight that battle by not allowing yourself to become disorientated in the fight. Don’t lose that important focus on your prayer because when you do, you’ve lost the fight.

The same applies to those who have just begun to commit themselves to weekly confession and Divine Liturgy after a long time spent away from the faith. Keep going. . . keep going. Don’t stop. If one parish becomes a bit of a nuisance accept your weakness and choose another parish but keep going.

Remember your place in the fight too. In my knife fighting training, I had been taught that when you see a knife the first thing you do is run. You’re unlikely to win. However, when cornered and there’s no other option but to fight, here’s how you do it. . . see?

Don’t take on a fight that is out of your remit to accept otherwise you really will be torn apart by the demons. If during your prayer the shouts are too loud stop, accept your weakness and reorganize yourself with the help of a good spiritual director. I don’t want to keep talking about it because I’d be here forever.

But the same applies to a parish church. If you’re having problems with the priest, Bishop or laity pack your bags and leave that fight as soon as you can. When it happens, picture a man standing in front of you with a knife. You’re not cornered so why suffer it? Don’t be stupid! Go somewhere else and to another parish.

Remember, the salvation of your soul is most important so why risk it by playing the tough guy? Remember that while fighting the good war of all wars is beneficial, retreating reaps benefits too because you’re showing the Lord you’ve the humility to accept that sometimes there’s victory in accepting defeat (for the time being). In fact, one could argue that retreating is part of the fighting strategy and does form part of the resistance that leads to victory.

Again, a good spiritual master will help. I’m of no use to you, but my post is simply to spark in you a desire for prayer. If you can’t find a good spiritual confessor go and read the lives of the saints and advice of the Early Fathers. The best advice I’ve ever gotten from the Lord has been through them.

God bless

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