When prayer is difficult, God invites us to keep showing up


What’s your experience of the daily Examen been like lately? If you’re a regular to this podcast you’ve probably found that the Examen helps you to notice God in your everyday life.


You may be able to notice God right as things are happening, not only as you look back. You might be more at peace and more confident about God’s presence in your life. Maybe the focus on gratitude has helped to make you a more grateful person or at least a person who wants to be more grateful, which is an important step. By the same token, you might also struggle with some aspects of the Daily Examen. Maybe your mind wanders. Maybe you have a hard time finding things to be grateful for. Maybe you forget different parts of your day. Maybe you fall asleep.

I’d like to say something to you about all that: It’s all natural and nothing to be frightened about. Prayer can be easy or difficult, seemingly rich or dry, and everyone has trouble with distractions and focus and everybody, at some point, falls asleep in the middle of a prayer. The key is to keep at it. To show up and shut up, as a friend of mine likes to say. To be faithful to your relationship with God. So your Examen isn’t perfect? Of course not. Because you’re not. And neither am I! But keep trying. Trust that God is with you. And be faithful to prayer.

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Michael Barberi
2 weeks 2 days ago

Thanks Fr. Martin. I have experienced everything you mentioned, the difficulty, the distractions, the dryness, the doubt and frustrations of daily prayer. I have also experienced the joy and gratitude of knowing that God is in my life. Thanks for reminding me to "Pray always and never give up". Perhaps in a future Examen thought, you can talk about the feeling of falling short, of not responding adequately enough to His graces, of failing to become the person He wishes us to be because of our bad habits and weaknesses that may never be eliminated. Will all of us have to undergo a period of purification in purgatory?

Phil Lawless
2 weeks 1 day ago

If you understand the Incarnation in its full message, you know that God intends to be in intimate relationship with you, however you allow Them to be. If any thing in this relationship is sure, it is that you are immortal, that you have become your only reason for being, and it is eternal., lasting through all the ages of humanity.

You may live in a quietmr lationship,with your God. You experience Their promise,to,be close with you and,you can live,with that. Prayer and life does not often have peaks, more often valleys. Yet being assured of God's interest in you should suffice to keep Them in mind all the days of,your life..

Nothing relies on the quality of your prayers, on your sincerity, on your awareness of your sinfulness. Once you are aware of your own relationship with God, you will begin to correct those aspects of your own life that interfere with the relationship. You may devote more time to prayer, you may change the things you pray for, you may be aware of God with you ,ore frequently.

You may experience a freedom of being human and being loved by God in a more fruitful and liberating way. I hope it becomes so. Christianity needs to become more mature in understanding our relationship with God, and in so doing, embody what the kingdom means.


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