Let Us Pray: Be Fearless in Prayer

shooting arrows at the sky

The strongest and most vibrant relationships are those sustained by good, healthy habits. We know, too, that the most meaningful relationships develop over time, even if they had begun all at once through unexpected encounters and random circumstances. 

For some reason, we seem to forget this when it comes to our spiritual lives. Instead, we tend to want to jump right in by heaping upon ourselves all sorts of spiritual practices and rigorous disciplines. Thus, we overwhelm ourselves with things we cannot possibly absorb into the fabric of our lives and thereby lie crumpled beneath the weight of the burdens we have heaped upon ourselves. This is precisely the reason so many of us end up feeling like failures and concluding we are simply incapable of praying and growing closer to God. Unchecked, these feelings too often lead to resentment against God. 

I think in the face of the resentments we may harbor, God says: “Wait a minute! I did not tell you to do all those things you wanted to do, to punch a holy hour time clock, or put on a prayer Fitbit. You chose all of that, so do not blame me. All I’ve ever wanted is you!” 

Perhaps you have felt crushed by the burdens you have placed upon yourself. Maybe you resent not living up to what you think you should be doing when it comes to prayer and having a spiritual life. Well, I have good news for you. Those days are over! You can have a spiritual life. You can truly live your life through, with, and in Christ! 

It begins with remembering that God created you. Thus, having a relationship with God should not be fraught with difficulties. Within the recesses of every human heart is a longing that only God can satisfy. True, our relationship with God does not happen all at once. Like all the relationships that genuinely matter, the effort we put into them is worth it and certainly not a burden. 

Coming to know God takes time, and it should. After all, it is supposed to last for all eternity. When it comes to our relationship with God, we should be in it for the long haul. So do not rush it, and do not push yourself to unrealistic extremes. Settle in and remind yourself often that this is forever. So, take a breath and continue—as my sister would tell you from heaven—slow and steady. 

Be Bold

Our hearts are restless and can be fickle; nonetheless, they yearn for God “like a deer for running streams” (see Psalm 42). Concupiscence is merely a residue of original sin that exists within each one of us, even after Baptism. It is the tension we experience between wanting to do what we want as opposed to doing what we ought to do. 

We should not, however, overdramatize it or give it any more attention than it deserves. Yes, there are certainly going to be times when I am going to want to do what I want and may even follow through with it. However, this does not mean my heart stops yearning for God. It just means I am weak, fragile, vulnerable, and sometimes selfish. 

The tension within each of us is not necessarily bad and is not sinful. Like our human emotions, the tension our longing causes is neutral. Those who play stringed instruments know the importance of tension with respect to producing a desired note. Those who are skilled with a bow and arrow (by the way, in Hebrew the word sin comes from archery) understand the importance of having the correct amount of tension to hit the target. Some of the greatest music our lives play before the Lord flows from our willingness to strike the right chord even when we do not really want to. 

Hitting the bull’s-eye in terms of living our humanity rightly also rests upon the proper amount of tension. Imagine the music your life and mine can make before the Lord. I think this is a much more positive way to think about those moments that seem to test us. 

As you prepare to more intentionally live your life with Christ, make a mental note (or an actual one) to remind yourself as often as needed that what you are about corresponds exactly to how you have been created. Getting started is as easy as saying to yourself, and meaning it, “This alone is the fullness of life, and I want it!” 

Remember, those who asked Jesus for something received what they asked for: Be bold! 


God of love, 
Like a timid child, I often come to you 
in prayer with a cautious spirit. 
But I know you welcome me where I am, as I am. 
Let me not fear your company 
but seek it boldly, openly, and with a pure heart. 
Give me the grace to enjoy this holy space with you, 
my God and my all. 

New call-to-action

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to St. Anthony Messenger!