Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Monday 20 May |
Saint of the Day: Mary, Mother of the Church
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

These things are some of the biggest obstacles to prayer


Shutterstock I fizkes

Philip Kosloski - published on 04/10/24

Often we will give up praying not because of any outside pressure, but because of our own failed attempts to pray. We get discouraged by our own weaknesses.

Many of us may have a desire to pray on a daily basis, but often we fail and it can be discouraging.

What ends up happening is that we give up the struggle and stop praying. It isn’t because of any outside pressure, but is primarily because of our own failures.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church points this out in its section on prayer:

Finally, our battle has to confront what we experience as failure in prayer: discouragement during periods of dryness; sadness that, because we have “great possessions,” we have not given all to the Lord; disappointment over not being heard according to our own will; wounded pride, stiffened by the indignity that is ours as sinners; our resistance to the idea that prayer is a free and unmerited gift; and so forth.

CCC 2728

Do any of those failures resonate with you?

Typically it is easy to pray when everything goes well and we feel joy and happiness every time we pray.

However, those experiences are normally rare and often we may never or rarely feel joy when we pray.

In place of joy we may feel emptiness or even abandonment during prayer. We may think that God isn’t there and doesn’t even listen to our prayers.

It is tempting to conclude, as the Catechism writes, “What good does it do to pray?” (CCC 2728)

We may throw up our hands and stop trying to pray, thinking that it does nothing and has no benefit for us during this difficult life on earth.


This is another reason why prayer is called a “spiritual battle,” as we have to actively fight against the many negative experiences we may feel.

The Catechism says, “To overcome these obstacles, we must battle to gain humility, trust, and perseverance” (CCC 2728).

If we are honest with ourselves and with God, we are more likely to succeed in maintaining a prayer life. We can recognize our own faults and failings and rely on the grace of God.

God is never to blame for a difficult prayer life, though he may allow it so that our hearts can be transformed. We are the ones who need to change in order to be brought into a deeper relationship with Christ.

The next time you find it difficult to pray, turn to God and pray simply, “Jesus, I trust in you.” We may not know why we are experiencing dryness during prayer, but the key is to trust in God and let him transform our hearts.

BibleCCC PrayerPrayer
Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.