It’s not just me is it? I mean when things are going well, I do make an effort to pray. I schedule my prayer time, my reflection time, my Rosary time . . .and I do my best to stick with it.
But when things are going really bad, I am always praying. Seriously. Suffering gives meaning to that Bible verse, Pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17). I am storming Heaven, spending more time in Adoration (as much as little kids allow!), lighting candles, doing novenas, begging saints . . .and on and on. Prayer becomes a part of my fabric, almost a part of my being. And I certainly become reliant on it to get through the day. There are moments, do you know these moments, where prayer is the only thing that gets you through the day–through that minute, through that wave of pain. I pray as soon as I wake up. I lie in bed and pray. And when I have trouble sleeping because of all the painful thoughts, I say the Rosary.
And when you’re praying more, something else happens. You are listening to God more. Something about the suffering makes us open ourselves up more. I think its because we are going along our merry way and all of a sudden we have our feet knocked out from under us. And you are lying there, thinking, . .
“Did I have it all wrong?”
Well there is only One who can answer that question for you.
And so we need to start the conversation. We start by crying out, by praying. And then we ask the questions. I think when we suffer, we really want to know the answers. We have been stripped down to nothing. Sometimes it is like a starting over. You don’t want to end up back at the suffering, so you cry out. And you listen. “Tell me how to do this Lord. Tell me how to find my way through this.” And then, because we don’t want it to be in vain, “Tell me what you want me to learn from this.”
That’s the real gut response. And I think that God more than respects that. I think He says, “See? That’s what I wanted from you all along–honest feeling, honest listening.”
And that’s why prayer, probably the first step we take in our suffering on our road to sainthood, moves us. Because what happens when you talk to someone and when you listen to someone? Your relationship deepens. So here we are, finally really willing to listen, and to bring our lives more in line with God’s will, not trying to force His will to conform to our lives. It’s the suffering, the having nothing to lose, that puts us there.
What do you think? Have you ever been stripped down to that place of crying out in prayer?
Or do you have any suggestions of prayers for the suffering?