What to pray for?

Finding myself without a job leaves me with a lot of time on my hands. A lot of time on my hands leads me to consider God, and what God has done and is doing for me. And that leads to considering prayer.

I really, really, suck at prayer. Oh, and I’m supposed to teach Mr. Serrano how to pray. Every so often, I get into that state where I honestly feel like I’m in communion with God. For a split second, the entire world halts and I swear its like I finally find that inner peace. Then something distracts me.

If I’m honest with myself its probably doubt, and not just the fact that there’s a ooooo shiny bit of something on the ground. How the heck am I supposed to teach my beloved how to pray, when I’m so distracted?

I start doubting. What if that inner peace I felt was just a fleeting emotion? What if I’m basing my beliefs on a bunch of warm, fuzzy feelings, and falling into that trap of “going where I’m comfortable”? I have a lot of friends who believe that a choice in religion (and God) all has to do with what’s comfortable. I don’t want comfortable- comfortable is what a blue-gill feels right before it bites the hook, and ends up scaled, chopped, and fried. Comfortable is what the little fish who made up my chirashidon in Tsukiji taste so wonderfully raw and delicious. Comfortable is what made that mojarra frita so succulent in garlic. I want the Truth. At the moment, I’m also craving some fish. But mostly Truth.

However, does that mean Truth has to hurt, or always be uncomfortable? I don’t want to make Truth into the image I like, or am comfortable with. That would be like pretending that Mr. Serrano is Eduardo Verástegui– Sure, Eduardo is very hot, very Catholic, and very pro-life, but Mr. Serrano is Mr. Serrano, and no one else. If I pretended that he were Eduardo, it would be incredibly disrespectful as well as very sad.

So, besides the doubt I get about how well I’m praying (or even IF I’m praying) I’ve also got an issue with what to pray about.

Do I pray for my own soul, which is in danger? Is that selfish?What about Mr. Serrano’s soul? Do I offer up suffering for both him and I?

There are so many things to pray about, besides the millions of little things that come up-

  • Priests, religious- they need our help, right?
  • People in purgatory, people I know that are dead.
  • Neighbors, people I see on the streets.
  • The people who have been hit by tornados.
  • The Christians suffering in Muslim parts of the world.
  • The future of Christians now (we are heading down a very dark path)
  • The Pope
  • The Japanese victims of earthquakes
  • My own host family
  • The pro-life movement and the people in the abortion clinics
  • Atheists, agnostics, those who are weak in faith (but aren’t I just as weak?)
  • Gay “marriage” and homosexual activism
  • etc etc etc etc etc etc

And after considering all of that, I start to doubt even more. Aren’t all these prayers petitions? Can’t I come up with one thing to be genuinely thankful for? Must I worry for everyone, including myself?

I realize that a lot of this doubt is coming from my own faults, and the usual idiot-jerk-fat cow-pendejo– aka the Devil is having a great time using them to make more doubts.

There’s something I’m supposed to be learning here, so I intend to do it. Hopefully I can find a good spiritual director. I have many good Christian friends, my Maid of Honor one of the greatest, but I need someone Catholic as well. There are some things that just require a priest, and this might be one of them.

One good thing- Mr. Serrano is going to get an apartment. HURRAY! And, we’ve bought the engagement ring! So there are two very awesome things.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “What to pray for?

  1. David

    There once was an old man who came to a catherdral every day for Eucharistic Adoration. He’d walk in, sit there for a few minutes, then get up and leave. The rector of the cathedral noticed this behavior, and once stopped him on the way out, and asked about what he does in his few minutes before Jesus. The man said “It’s simple, really. I look at him, and he looks at me.” God already knows our wants and cares before we ever ask, so even if you have nothing to say, lifting up your heart to our Heavenly Father IS prayer.

    I think I suck at prayer too. I used to only pray when I needed something to work right in my life. I understand how you feel like doing this is trying to make God into our image, but if you always say “Lord, I trust that you know what you’re doing, regardless of what I ask for. Whatever Your will is, I’m with you.”, it’s ok. Even Jesus did intercessory prayer…

    • I love that story! Sometimes when my ADHD gets too crazy to handle I do that sort of prayer. It takes a good 5 minutes or more to calm my mind down, but eventually it becomes peaceful.

      Prayer is one of those things that I don’t really know how to do- I wasn’t really raised to do it. And now I have to teach Mr. Serrano! I’m trying to break out of the mold of “beg, thank, beg, thank…” although I know that those are good prayers too. God wants us to ask for help when we need it! I’m trying to remedy the situation a bit with adoration though. I really, really, really want to find a Catholic spiritual director. My maid of honor, God bless her, is AWESOME for a lot of spiritual things, but when it comes to some specifically Catholic areas she doesn’t know. (She is thinking of becoming a Lutheran pastor…yet she still knows more than a lot of Catholics I know about the Church. Go figure!) However, due to my new work schedule I don’t have the time. I wish I did, but my hours are very restricted.

  2. David

    The priest involved was St. John Vianney, the Cure of Ars. I told it a little different than the actual story, but you got the gist.

    If you want to do the prayer of the Church, why not try the Divine Office? You can either buy the Book of Christian Prayer, which contains the Morning and Evening prayers, or the four-volume set, which has everything. I’m particular to praying the Office of Readings. You can also get this online at http://www.Universalis.com. This whole body of prayer is prayer for the sake of praying as a body-the whole Church prays this every day.
    As for spiritual direction for the time-challenged, I’d suggest getting one or two of Fr. Benedict Groeschel’s books or his confrere Fr. Andrew Apostoli. Both are Franciscans, Fr. Benedict has a degree in pshychology and Fr. Andrew was the postulator for the cause of the canonization of Bishop Sheen. Their style is a lot like self-help spiritual direction. Maybe later you can find a face to face one.

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