Let us consider the only one who benefits from your excuses about prayer. And that person is Satan.
In life, you can stay 30 days without food, three days without water, three hours without shelter, and about three minutes without air. But how long can you go without prayer?
I brought up this question because prayer is one of the three traditional disciplines of Lent, along side with fasting and almsgiving. Whatever the Church recommends it as a reliable source of grace, you can be sure that the Enemy wants to hinder it.
Bear in mind that Jesus did not say pray more or pray better. But in (Luke 18:1) Jesus called upon us to pray always. In that case, we have to learn to live with the truth that praying isn’t like picking up the phone and dialing God’s number. Rather, prayer is learning to live mindfully in the constant presence of God.
The excuse people give most often about avoiding prayer is some form of I’m too busy. Whether one is too busy or doesn’t have time enough, what matters is that the only one who gains from our habit of not going to God’s presence through prayer is the Enemy who hates God and hates us.
Let’s find a definition of prayer that can help keep us committed to a prayer life? There should be as many definitions of prayer as there are people who pray, but let’s find a definition of prayer that you might have come across before: Prayer is an act of defiance; prayer is an act of disobedience and an act of rebellion.
In what way can prayer be an act of defiance when Jesus tells us to “pray always”? Let’s bear in mind that prayer is an act of defiance when we refuse to cooperate with the Enemy’s whispers, distractions, and seductions not to pray. Praying is a way of saying, “Get thee behind me, Satan!” ( Matthew 16:23).
In (Matt. 6:9) when Jesus taught his disciples to pray, he also taught them to call upon God as Our Father. When we don’t have the habit of prayer, Satan would have us as spiritual orphans that is, people that are abandoned, rejected, neglected, unprovided for, and alone.
Also, when we don’t have the habit of praying always, it’s all too easy to believe all lies like Isolation leads to despair; despair reinforces isolation. When we are taken away from the life of prayer, Satan can whisper to us saying, you’re alone, nobody knows you, nobody cares about you, but you can make a deal with me. Satan as we know is so deceptive, he will continue saying to you, “I’ll make sure that you get what you want, what you need, what you deserve”. The devil caresses your soul when you want to cut corners on prayers.
St. Ignatius Loyola told us that when we’re tempted to cut corners on prayer, it’s time to get stubborn. He says that we must insist more upon prayer, that we must not carve out a prayer time that is beyond the reach of our circumstances. Because, that leads to failure and frustration.
But with the spirit of defiance, rebellion and disobedience we can cling to our sound prayer commitments, and rebuke the Enemy who would have us forsake the living God who is the very lifeblood of our soul. In this Lent, let’s find a solution to turn to Our Heavenly Father who is always present to us, and who always wishes to bless us.