Question 007

What if I don’t feel drawn to prayer?

Are you not drawn? Pray, then, that you might be drawn to him. It is urgent to overcome sentimentalism in our relationship with God.  There is no sea so deep as the thoughts of God, who makes evil men to flourish and the good to suffer…it is upon that deep, in that profundity that every unbelieving soul is wrecked.  Do you want to cross over the deep?  Then do not move away from the wood of Christ’s Cross.

from St. Augustine Answers 101 Questions on Prayer by Fr. Ermatinger.


It is a great mystery that God, who desires that all should pray, and thus receive His good things, fundamentally Himself, does not draw all equally to the life of prayer.  The life of prayer beckons even the wicked.  Conversely, it is often the case that those that He greatly wills to advance in prayer He refrains from drawing.  Those that spun His promptings often have very visible signs in their lives, and yet those that wish, or at least desire to pray, often experience so much dryness, as if having a phone conversation with an open line.  This often belies a hidden attachment to sentiment – that God is expected to be a dancing monkey in response to a few brass coins tossed His way.  When He doesn’t dance, one sulks and goes away from the life of prayer – what’s the effort?  Yet, prayer is itself the reward of its own labor, for prayer done as an act of faith is that receiving of communication with God that is striven after.  It is not for God to communicate with us as we sentimental expect Him to communicate; it is for us to receive that which He chooses to give in the time that He so chooses.  It is for us to listen.  Those that have no faith, that choose not to accept His free gift of faith, will condemn themselves all the more so in their obstinate refusal to seek the life of prayer; a labor in which no one will be turned away and all shall be paid.  To those that accept the gift of faith, or seek the path to accept this gift, one must cling to the wood of the Cross, which is the abandonment of human self-interest, sentiment, desire, and acceptance of obedience to the Father’s will. — PPP

Pierre Edouard Frère. The Prayer (detail), (1819–1886)