I feel like I don’t have anything eloquent to say about prayer, because, honestly, I’m not very good at it. At least, not right now. I know prayer is communication with God. I know there are many different forms and styles and types of prayer. I’ve tried them all.
- journaling (If writing is my charism, why not Dear God than Dear Diary?)
- reading (You did inspire those smart people, Lord….)
- singing (So, according to St. Augustine, it was twice every time!)
- thinking out loud/silently (Hey, Holy Spirit, I’m talking to You.)
- listening to music (I have lost that loving feeling. Sorry, God.)
There’s also the holy, churchy prayer: your standard golden oldies recited, Mass attendance, Scripture reading, adoration for a while, the Rosary for a bit—even some 54-day novenas under my belt (look, Ma, I’m praying!); Lectio Divina, contemplative, Ignatian, etc.
But recently, I’ve realized just how much I’ve neglected my prayer life. There is someone special I was waiting to hear from (it’d been two weeks), and when he didn’t call later on the day like he said he would, I started to cry and then couldn’t stop sobbing. I wanted to talk to “my boy,” and I believed the Evil One’s lies that he “didn’t want to talk to me.” What I didn’t realize until much later (and after boy called the very next day) was that I DID have someone to talk to, someone who wouldn’t let me down. But I didn’t lean on Him, because I’d been neglecting our communication. I didn’t call God.
And calling God (or texting, if you’re a writer), is really what prayer is like. The Holy Trinity is the main “man” in our lives, and He’s ALWAYS there and eager to talk to you. He probably is right now, but we may have difficulty listening. And that is a skill just as super important to prayer as talking is.
When you neglect your prayer life, bad things can happen. I start losing my connection to God; I start reacting to things without grace; my self-diagnosed paranoid-hypochondriac-anxiety complex acts up; and then, worst of all, I feel empty inside. Because even if I haven’t literally heard the whispers from the Lord, His response to me during prayer did fill me up. Worse, I have started committing what I call the “sin of justification”: thinking that because others have felt or acted this negative way, it is okay for me to. For example, I might tell myself “Mother Teresa had dark days—years even!—of feeling disconnected to God. It’s okay for me to keep going as I’m going and not take any steps to improve my prayer life.” Not good.
Fortunately, life is just one long work-in-progress, so I always have the opportunity to re-connect with God. Because when I “own” the fact that He is with me, I won’t feel alone, even when I’m single. And using this “season” to improve upon my relationship with God will only benefit any potential future relationship I have with a guy, and the one I maintain with God.