Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Obstacles to Prayer

This was a talk I gave last Friday at Holy Name parish during their fish fry. Thanks to their DRE Jonathan Chamblee who filmed it, put it on Youtube, and then sent it to me. Although I didn't ask him to do any of that, I am appreciative of his efforts because I think we covered some good questions that a lot of people have about prayer. Hope it helps you during this Holy Week!


  1. I would like to mention that intercessory prayer does not work. I am living proof of that. I have two priests who stated they are "praying for me" and supposedly have done so for a while now. I see no change for the better in my life.

    Having that been said, praying to God to ask for things you desperately need doesn't work either. This is where I would like to make a very valid point. Jesus's promises regarding prayer: Catholics take literally Jesus's words at the last supper when he said "take this all of you and eat it. This is my body which will be given up for you." Thus Catholics believe that they are receiving the true body of Christ in the Eucharist at Mass. I know this because I used to take communion when I went to church. Catholics insist that he meant exactly what Jesus said. Now, Jesus also made statements regarding prayer such as in Matthew 21 "If you have faith you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer." Mark 11 "whatever you ask for in prayer, believe you will receive it and it will be yours."John 14 "Anyone who has faith you may ask for anything in my name and I will do it." Matthew 18 "If two of you agree about anything that they ask, it will be down for them by my father." Nothing else in the gospels was clearer by Jesus than these promises. These are very clear, very unambiguous statements. So, having that been said, perhaps if at let's say, the 10:00AM Mass that there could be a short prayer near the end of Mass praying to God to restore immediately all amputees' legs, or arms. Or if instead of praying for that, pray for all of the people that have cancer, that all the cancer cells in their bodies be immediately destroyed, or, pray that all suffering, lonely, heartbroken, homosexuals be immediately changed to heterosexuals and have a happier life. Jesus was very clear on these promises but also very clear at the last supper as well. Jesus is the way, THE TRUTH, and the life. He really means what he says. BUT.....WHAT DO YOU SUPPOSE WOULD HAPPEN AS A RESULT OF YOUR PRAYERS? You know, and I know.....NOTHING would happen.

    On a final note to close this message out, what good would it do to pray? I can tell you from my standpoint.....a waste of time.

  2. Ben,
    Is prayer something you can always see measurable results of every time you engage in it?

  3. Fr. Hollowell,

    If you are talking about meditative prayer, no. If you are talking about intercessory prayer, that is also a NO also. I quite praying and going to church cause it was nothing but a waste of time. I have spent countless hours praying and asking for certain things I desperately needed for my health and well being. The results of those prayers -- nothing happened. So obviously, to answer your question; no, one can not always see measurable results of prayer every time one engages in it. In my case, it's "never" and not just "not always." Because of that, it brings in the question of the reliability of the Bible. Jesus made it crystal clear of the promises regarding prayer. To this date, I still haven't received what I asked for in faith by prayer. As the old saying goes -- "HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!" Sorry....but it's true.... :(

  4. It can't be "never" because you can't say "never" until the story is over - and yours is not over. You should say "not yet" until you pass from this life to the next - then you can say "God NEVER answered my prayers."

    Mother Teresa went 50 years without hearing a peep from Christ and felt often times that she was going to be condemned to Hell - but she never quit believing in God. You might find her journals worth reading as a person struggling with not hearing back from God. Come Be My Light is the name of the book that is her journals.

  5. Were you talking about The Dark Night by St. John of the Cross book?