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Prayer can often reveal our own lack of faith

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Philip Kosloski - published on 04/14/24

We may not realize it, but our faith may not be as strong as we think it is. Prayer is the first test to see if we truly have faith in God.

As Christians, we are challenged to have faith in God, trusting that God will do what he says he will do and that he truly loves us.

While we might intellectually assent to such a belief, it may not always reach into the depths of our heart.

Prayer is one of the first battlegrounds for such faith.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains this test in its section on prayer:

The most common yet most hidden temptation is our lack of faith. It expresses itself less by declared incredulity than by our actual preferences. When we begin to pray, a thousand labors or cares thought to be urgent vie for priority; once again, it is the moment of truth for the heart: what is its real love?

CCC 2732

We need to ask ourselves during prayer, does our heart truly want to be united with God? Or are other things in our life more important?

Is God important in our lives?

Another possibility is that we treat God more like a last resort, praying only when we need something.

The Catechism comments on these temptations as well:

Sometimes we turn to the Lord as a last resort, but do we really believe he is? Sometimes we enlist the Lord as an ally, but our heart remains presumptuous. In each case, our lack of faith reveals that we do not yet share in the disposition of a humble heart: “Apart from me, you can do nothing.”

CCC 2732

One way we can examine our own heart is to determine what role prayer has in it.

Author Jim Beckman, in his book God, Help Me: How to Grow in Prayer, observed a key principle in prioritizing prayer:

The way we spend our time tends to reveal what we place value on. One author I read on this topic observed with amusement that no one ever died of hunger because of not having time to eat. There are things we do with our time every day, and if we track our activity, we’ll see what is truly important to us. If prayer is something we place value on, we’ll make time for it. 

If we truly value prayer, we will make room in our daily schedule.

One way to do this is to make prayer a priority and schedule it first. For example, when you look at your day, instead of thinking of all the things you need to do, first ask yourself, “When can I pray today?”

Then you can work backwards and schedule in everything else.

It is a simple principle, but one that we don’t always like to follow.

BibleCCC PrayerPrayer
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