Missing Prayer in My Life

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Kipper
Posts: 292
Joined: 27 Aug 2012, 07:45

Missing Prayer in My Life

Post by Kipper » 28 Mar 2020, 04:46

The title could just as well be Does Prayer Help. I haven't had a good prayer in a couple years. I feel like I should talk to my bishop but I don't know where to start. There is a root cause but it's buried so deep it would be hard to dig out and present to someone. I have lost faith in my leaders in my peers and in myself completely. I haven't been consumed by the spirit for years. Should I be praying to help me understand prayer again? When I pray it's like walking in a dry river bed, it's like I know it's a place for a river but I'm not getting wet. Just taking the walk gets me nowhere. I usually go on and on at this point but it tends to turn into justification so I'll pause here and ask if someone can offer their thoughts, does prayer while in a "faith crises" help with said crises?

Minyan Man
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Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: Missing Prayer in My Life

Post by Minyan Man » 28 Mar 2020, 06:19

I know exactly what you're going through. When I started to become active again, I thought that the feelings & desires to pray would come back.
They haven't. I have a question...do you find inspiration in other things or activities? For example, walks in nature, works of art or scriptures? I think that we take inspiration where we can get it. And, maybe meaningful prays will evolve from that over time.

Sometimes it is in the simplest acts or activity. Listening to a babies laugh always gets to me.

mfree6464
Posts: 45
Joined: 23 Feb 2016, 17:07

Re: Missing Prayer in My Life

Post by mfree6464 » 28 Mar 2020, 08:29

Kipper wrote:
28 Mar 2020, 04:46
The title could just as well be Does Prayer Help.
I stopped praying about a year ago. I vividly remember going to bed that first night after making my decision to stop praying and I felt this tremendous loss. It felt like a life-long friend had passed away - I felt really sad. Rather than go right back to prayer, I decided at that point to make an effort to see if I could fill the void in other ways.

For me, prayer was about two things: expressing gratitude and asking for help. To replace the gratitude part of prayer I began to take time daily to reflect on everything I was grateful for. I found this process to be just as effective as offering thanks to HF in prayer. I felt calm and peaceful and happier in general as I did this.

As for the part about asking HF for help, that was a little trickier. I no longer believe in a HF who grants us our wishes. I'm willing to concede that He may at times bless us but I believe it is more of a random and rare event if it does happen at all. I do not believe asking for blessings through prayer or living "worthy" increases the odds of blessings coming our way. When I used to pray, there were two kinds of blessings I would ask HF for:

1) I would ask Him to bless things I COULD control
2) I would ask for blessings I could NOT control

If it's something I have control over then I do what I can to make it happen. For example, rather than ask HF to help me get a raise at work, I'll work harder and ask my boss for ways I can improve.

If it's something I cannot control (and this has been the biggest game-changer for me) I make peace with it.

After 30+ years of praying and 1 year of not praying I have come to the conclusion that asking HF to help us with things we have no control over sets us up for disappointment. It creates an expectation that, when not met, can cause heartache and profound sorrow. Simply accepting the things I cannot control has brought such peace into my life. I no longer hope for difficult things to change, I simply find ways to be grateful for them.

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DarkJedi
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Joined: 24 Aug 2013, 20:53

Re: Missing Prayer in My Life

Post by DarkJedi » 28 Mar 2020, 12:00

Kipper wrote:
28 Mar 2020, 04:46
...does prayer while in a "faith crises" help with said crises?
The simple answer is in my experience, no.

Prayer, and answers thereto (or lack of answers), was a major component of my FC so my point of view is undoubtedly biased.

Post crisis (transition) prayer is entirely different for me. Full disclosure, I don't pray very often. Sometimes more, sometimes less. My prayers don't match the classic LDS version as taught by the missionaries or in Primary. They're sort of hard to describe but are more like a one sided conversation where I don't ask for anything, although I do sometimes express hopes.

I recognize others have very different experiences with prayer. Mileage varies.

ETA: I do want to add that I do often (but not always) feel peace when I pray. I am also reminded of a C.S. Lewis quote shared by Hakgrrrrl in another thread:
If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth.
In the absence of knowledge or faith there is always hope.

Once there was a gentile...who came before Hillel. He said "Convert me on the condition that you teach me the whole Torah while I stand on one foot." Hillel converted him, saying: That which is despicable to you, do not do to your fellow, this is the whole Torah, and the rest is commentary, go and learn it."

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mom3
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Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Missing Prayer in My Life

Post by mom3 » 28 Mar 2020, 15:52

I no longer hope for difficult things to change, I simply find ways to be grateful for them.
Beautiful.

I don't pray like I once did. But even before the cease and desist of prayer, my prayers had already begun to arc. After a decade of going with the flow, I find that I have moments when praying as I had is the only thing I can do. I don't expect answers. I just see it as confirming how deeply something needs to be expressed.

Beyond that I now just talk as I go. Saying gratitudes, sharing what hurts, wondering what if's.

I am big on meditation now. It helps fill the space for me.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

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nibbler
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Location: Ten miles west of the exact centre of the universe

Re: Missing Prayer in My Life

Post by nibbler » 03 Apr 2020, 07:44

Thinking back to my orthodox believing days, I'd often hear counsel to pray always. I didn't interpret that to mean that I should try to be on my knees in formal prayer all day, I took the counsel as taking time to direct my thoughts towards god as I went about my day.

At the moment I don't do formal prayers unless asked but I have retained the informal practice of regularly directing thoughts towards god.

Given life experiences it's no longer about someone listening on the other side or waiting for a response, it's more about meditation, orientation, and trying to step outside of myself.
Cure sometimes, treat often, comfort always.
— Hippocrates

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mom3
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Joined: 02 Apr 2011, 14:11

Re: Missing Prayer in My Life

Post by mom3 » 04 Apr 2020, 15:28

Given life experiences it's no longer about someone listening on the other side or waiting for a response, it's more about meditation, orientation, and trying to step outside of myself.
Amen.
"I stayed because it was God and Jesus Christ that I wanted to follow and be like, not individual human beings." Chieko Okazaki Dialogue interview

"I am coming to envision a new persona for the Church as humble followers of Jesus Christ....Joseph and his early followers came forth with lots of triumphalist rhetoric, but I think we need a new voice, one of humility, friendship and service. We should teach people to believe in God because it will soften their hearts and make them more willing to serve." - Richard Bushman

harmon-y
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Joined: 21 Nov 2013, 16:00

Re: Missing Prayer in My Life

Post by harmon-y » 05 Apr 2020, 13:42

I would agree with most of the comments that the act of prayer is really about reflection. I struggle similarly to you. I felt like I lost a dear friend. I decided that atheists might be right. I also decided that I did not want to choose that belief for myself. I continue to pray to a Heavenly Father because in those moments, I imagine a loving father who believes in my abilities within my short coming. My typical internal dialogue is negative and anxious. Prayer allows me to disassociate from that and make better choices. I want it to be true so I do the act.

Have you prayed about this feeling? Work through it in your prayer. As you pray, meditate, listen, you can find the answer. Why did the water stop flowing? Do you think it will again? Is water missing because there is no rain (ie power from above?) or a block at the entrance? I might be digging too deep but that is how I find answers for myself. You chose that example for a reason, whether you know it or not.

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