The Hardship of Prayer

The Hardship of Prayer

During my recovery from my recent hip replacement, I remembered reading a book, “The Gift of Peace” by Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, in which he discussed the hardship of prayer during his last days on earth dying with cancer. (Not that I thought I was dying, but I identified with the hardship of prayer during that time.)

In his book, the Cardinal said that we have to set aside “quality time” for prayer. It can’t be done “on the run”. We have to put aside good time, quality time. He shared that he gave God the first hour of his day, no matter what, to be with him in prayer and meditation. He shared that this practice helped him put his life in a new and uplifting perspective. 

Although I do not give God the first hour of my day, I do set aside quality time for the Divine connection. But during my hip surgery and recovery, I was not able to find the “energy” or the “time” for the practice of prayer, even though that’s all I had, “time”.

I remembered reading about this prayer dilemma in the Cardinal’s book.  The Cardinal said that he was taken “aback” when he realized that during his period of convalescence, immediately after one of his surgeries that he did not have the desire or the strength to pray.

He admonished us to, “Make sure that you pray when you’re well because when you’re sick, you probably won’t.”

We sometimes think that our faith is waning when we are not able to pray as intensely as we might have before.  But don’t be surprised.

I’m thinking maybe it’s like a “prayer bank account”, what you deposit in your earlier healthier days, you can draw upon at a later date simply telling God, “help”– you know what I mean or “thanks”– remember all the gifts that I have thanked you for before. 

I think we have to keep it simple and stay connected. 

At the times in our lives when we are most vulnerable, in sickness, times of stress and upheaval in our lives, we need to stay connected to our Creator more than ever. But it seems to be so difficult during the times we need it most.

So in this upcoming New Year, maybe opening up a “Prayer Bank Account” will ensure a peaceful trek through the upcoming months knowing that God is fully on our side, no matter what. 

“The first task in life is this: prayer. But not the prayer of words, like a parrot; but the prayer, of the heart: gazing on the Lord, hearing the Lord, asking the Lord.” – Pope Francis

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