Very often it seems like the only time I pray is when I am forced to pray. Â It’s like Job or Elijah. Â When things get SO BAD (in my perception at least) that there is no other recourse, then I will pray. Â Unless, of course, I don’t have the energy. Â So my prayers become much closer to a 911 call than an ongoing conversation.
I wish it were not so. Â I wish I were more disciplined in my prayers. Â But I’m not and I can’t seem to figure out how to do it. Â My prayers are weak and timid. Â They are fearful and uncertain. Â My best prayers come when I am too desperate to do anything else.
So often my prayers make me feel like I am a fraud. Â I project the air of quiet faith and confidence to my parishioners. Â I sit in the hospital with them, console them with the Gospel which I hardly feel like I believe half the time.
I think this is all too common with pastors. Â Faith and doubt go hand in hand. Â There can hardly be one without the other this side of the grave.
I think a part of the problem lies in feeling like prayer is a show. Â So often for pastors, because we are called upon to publicly pray for others, it means that the prayers we offer are half prayer/half proclamation. Â Prayers can offer comfort, and we pastors will use any trick in the book to sneak in a little Gospel. Â But this can lead to making prayer feel like a show. Â I have to have a “good” prayer, because they are counting on me.
How do you counteract this? Â What is the actual goal of prayer?
I’m sorry I have more questions than answers today. Â Some days are just like that.
-DMR (aka Todd Peperkorn)