“Ask a Priest: What If Prayer Is Becoming Harder?”

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Q: I feel as though I’m losing my faith. For about a year and a half now I can’t concentrate in Mass, even if I try. I find it harder to pray each and every day, and I don’t feel God’s presence anymore. What can I do? I’ve tried everything: going to Mass every day, praying the rosary every day. Nothing seems to help me. – M.N.

Answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC

A: It’s great that you are continuing to pray, even amid the other problems.

Without knowing more about your situation, I can offer only general advice.

You mention that you feel as though you are losing your faith, yet you go to Mass and pray the rosary every day. That doesn’t sound like someone losing her faith. Perhaps you simply are not receiving the same consolations you once felt.

Consolations are nice, but they are not the most important thing in the spiritual life.

Sometimes God withdraws consolations from us because he wants to purify us.

To pray without consolations requires more commitment from us. This is one path to purifying our motives.

We shouldn’t pray only because it makes us feel good. We do it because we want to give God glory and stay close to him.

All of this is not easy to embrace. We don’t like the sense of feeling alone. Yet we aren’t alone. God is as close to you now as ever.

What might help is to find a solid, regular confessor and/or spiritual director who could guide you. If a director is not available, then you could try asking for a bit of advice in the confessional. A diet of good spiritual reading would help, too.

Going to a regular confessor might help in case he detects that you need something else.

In the meantime it’s good to stay the course with your prayer life. In this time of difficulty your prayer life might be as deep as ever.

For more reading you might consider When the Well Runs Dry: Prayer Beyond the Beginnings.

It’s good to remember that the best measure of our prayer life is not in consolations but in our growth in the virtues.

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