When we are in the thick of it, slinging the mud of adversity we pray for help.
And we pray and we pray.
I prayed until I wondered if I was praying properly. Should I ask God to help me get through this? Should I thank God for helping me get through this? Should I say a Novena? Should I pray to the Saints?
It’s pretty safe to say I did all of those things and more and I took comfort in it all.
I wore out my proverbial Catholic saddle shoes.
Do we pray for grace? Do we pray for respite? Why do bad things happen? Why does some suffering last for so long? Why do some prayers get answered and others do not? How do we know exactly what to pray for? Especially when our path seems less than clear for far too long?
We know this is a part of our spiritual growth.
But what if it could also be called a ‘spiritual process?’
In other words, perhaps there is no one way to pray but rather an evolution of prayer while experiencing difficulty.
Not just the suffering but the struggling with just how we spiritually attack it.
Think about that for a moment.
It’s actually comforting. Why? Because we often can’t find our way through the heartache so we dig even deeper into our faith. In doing so, we get more and more confused when our prayers don’t seem to be answered or the pain and adversity don’t lessen.
So we begin to let confusion in. Why aren’t our prayers being answered? What are we doing wrong? Are we not praying enough? In the right manner?
I do not think that is the case.
Any period of prolonged suffering will not be sustained by one approach. Suffering is a journey. One rooted in our faith but complicated by the human condition.
I have learned a lot throughout this period in my life which required a beefed up level of prayer.
And it has been a spiritual process.
The initial resistance of my situation followed by
The pleas for help
Turned into an acceptance of pain and
A prayerfully confused struggle to endure it when finally
A willingness to accept it and a hopefulness once again took hold
While I asked God for the grace to learn what I was meant to learn
And in doing so I could thank God for things finally getting better and moving forward
And then ultimately knowing it was time to stop praying for things to get better
And absorb all the lessons I had learned – both life and spiritual – both good and bad
And say, “I’m ready God.”
And embrace the new doors God has been preparing me for.
To turn this excruciating spiritual process into my spiritual evolution.
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