Prayer and Feelings..... Or Not

We all want to be loved. That’s just the way we’re made. This, coupled with the fact that love is commonly accompanied by emotions and feelings, shines some light on why so much of today’s world is centered on feeling. We are hammered with emotion to such an extent that even our prayer lives tend to be strongly affected by that emotion. We want to be touched in some amazing, life-changing way. We want to feel God’s Love, feel His Presence, feel His Peace. 

Often times we do get to enjoy these spiritual blessings, and in those times it is hard to doubt God’s Love. But what about those times when we feel spiritually desolate and forgotten? What about those times when we can’t understand how God could let this or that happen? What about those times when we have absolutely no desire to pray, or those times when we are distracted and discouraged in our prayers? At times like these, it is very easy to think that God is further from us than in those times when we felt spiritually rich. In these emotionally dry moments it is very easy to suppose that He doesn’t even exist, much less care for us or hear us. But it is in these hard times that we must remember what love really is: an act of the will. It is not an emotion or a feeling. Sure, those things do frequently accompany love, but love isn’t dependent on them. So if love is not based on emotional feels, and the reason we pray is to be in communion with Love Itself, then our prayers should not be dependent on feeling.

So, if your prayers are met with spiritual blessings, rejoice and thank God for them. But, if your prayers seem to be just another useless waste of time and energy, remember to have faith and don’t be discouraged. God wants us to pray to Him, whether it’s easy or hard. Remember, prayer is the best way to grow in the knowledge of God, and the knowledge of God is the beginning of true love. So, keep journeying to know Him better. Don’t just pray to feel God. Pray to know Him.

St. Josemaria Escriva: