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3 Obstacles that might prevent us from praying


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Philip Kosloski - published on 04/09/24

Whether we realize it or not, we may choose not to pray based on worldly attitudes that become difficult obstacles to overcome.

As Christians, we know that we should pray on a daily basis and are at least required to spend some time in prayer each week on Sunday.

However, we don’t always pray, and sometimes our reasoning is based on worldly attitudes about prayer.

We may not even realize we have these attitudes toward prayer, but if we dig deeper into our soul, we might find the following obstacles to prayer that the Catechism of the Catholic Church lists.

Prayer isn’t productive

The Catechism explains that, ” Others overly prize production and profit; thus prayer, being unproductive, is useless” (CCC 2727).

In modern culture, especially in the United States, “time is money.” If we aren’t productive with our time, then we aren’t “seizing the day.”

This is why some of us may neglect prayer, as it doesn’t produce anything that helps us in the physical realm. Prayer does not have any immediate result and so we don’t want to pray, seeing it as useless.

In order to combat this tendency, we need to recognize the hidden fruit of prayer and how it affects the spiritual world. We may not be able to see the results of our prayer, but if we trust in God, we know that he is doing something remarkable behind the scenes.

Prayer doesn’t feel good

The Catechism states, “Still others exalt sensuality and comfort as the criteria of the true, the good, and the beautiful; whereas prayer, the ‘love of beauty’ (philokalia), is caught up in the glory of the living and true God” (CCC 2727).

At face value, prayer typically does not make us feel good. It also isn’t as much fun as scrolling through our phone and watching YouTube videos. Our senses are not typically engaged in a positive way and often our body hurts.

When kneeling, standing or even sitting for a long time, prayer negatively affects our body.

This can be an obstacle for us, as we might fall to the worldly notion that everything needs to feel good.

If we want to succeed in prayer, we need to admit that prayer isn’t comfortable, but that we can unite our sufferings to God and look to Jesus as a supreme example of prayer.

Prayer doesn’t feed the poor

The Catechism points out, “Finally, some see prayer as a flight from the world in reaction against activism; but in fact, Christian prayer is neither an escape from reality nor a divorce from life” (CCC 2727).

Some of us might think that praying takes us away from the world and doesn’t do the things that Jesus wants us to do, such as feeding the poor.

In this way, prayer is seen as a flight from the world, something that neglects the work that must be done.

Yet, people like Mother Teresa would pray for an hour every day, seeing prayer as the fuel she needed to be active in the world.

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