Prayer to a God Who is With Us

Updated: Sep 16, 2021

The popular Catholic author and evangelist, Sherry Weddell, explains in her book, Forming Intentional Disciples, that many Catholics misunderstand their relationship with God and fall into a type of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism. This seems like a mouthful and there really is a lot here, but she explains that many Catholics forget that our faith is more than a morality, that it exists for more than a kind of psychological comfort, and that it is meant to draw us toward a God who loves us. It is common to see these misconceptions most clearly in our prayer lives.

Some will say, "I don't need to pray as long as I'm a good person." This idea assumes that what counts in getting to heaven is some kind of scale that we balance. As long as there's more good on the scale than sin, we're in! That certainly doesn't explain the good thief on the cross next to Jesus nor the teaching that a single mortal sin is sufficient for eternal peril. This notion forgets that Christianity is primarily about a relationship with Jesus that deepens over time. Our moral lives are only one element of that relationship and Jesus is clear, we cannot become good on our own. We need his help.

Others will begin a life of prayer but do so for a variety of therapeutic reasons. Prayer helps them remain calm under pressure, it helps them alleviate fear and anxiety, or just simply makes them feel good about themselves. All of these can be and often are true. The science is clear. Studies have even shown that prayer helps people with chronic pain take less medication. But, this notion of prayer can fail quickly in times of dryness or desolation. It frequently leads to what Jesus describes with the "seed that falls on rocky soil." It takes root, but cannot last in times of drought because the roots are too shallow.

Still, others have a deistic understanding of God. They pray, but they understand God as a being or force who created the world and then lets it run on its own. He only intervenes when something is seriously wrong. So they tend to call on God only when a part of their life is broken; when they can't "do it themselves." In some cases they look to avoid closeness to God because of a certain shame in their lives, in other cases, they are trying to be self-sufficient, in still others they simply don't see God as a god who can and/or does love them.

Join Deacon Peter Kennedy along with Bruce and Jen as they explore the notion of Catholic prayer: The discipline of prayer, the types of prayer, the battle of prayer, and growing in the intimacy of prayer with a God who wants to be with us and sustain us, always and everywhere.

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