When it’s So Difficult to Pray

I often hear newly bereaved parents say, “I just can’t seem to pray at the moment.” Yes, I remember feeling the same way in those early weeks after our baby Thomas died. When we need prayers most, why is it so difficult to concentrate and pray?

I tried to pray the Rosary. I’d sit with my beads and begin, but my thoughts would wander away after the first few words. Eventually I’d realise I wasn’t praying at all. I was thinking about Thomas.

I confided my problem to my close friend, Sarah and she kindly said, “But Sue, we will pray for you. That’s what we’re here for. Don’t worry.” This brought me a lot of comfort. I am so grateful for the people who prayed for me. But still I was concerned. Why couldn’t I pray? I needed God. I had to pray.

A long time later, I realised I was actually praying during those traumatic and difficult days. I was praying non-stop. I was just praying in an unaccustomed way.

For weeks, all I could think about was my son. Thomas consumed every thought. I thought about him all day. I went to bed thinking about him. I woke up thinking about him. Nothing else was important. And what I was thinking about most of all was, “Why?” Why did God allow my baby to die when I wanted him so much? Why didn’t God answer my prayers?  Was I unworthy? I was suffering like I’d never suffered before and I was trying to make sense of it all.

Then I realised my thoughts of Thomas were bound up completely with God. I was trying to make sense of my suffering, but no answer was possible without Him. I was having an unending conversation with God.

Living continually in God’s presence? That’s something we all try to do. I think that’s exactly what I was doing during those early weeks of sorrow. Despite thinking it was so difficult for me to pray, I was actually praying constantly. I was praying like I’d never prayed before.

And though I felt far, far away from God, I am sure He was there holding me so very close. He was right there beside me, listening to my prayers… the prayers I was unaware I was even praying.


Please feel welcome to visit my blog, Sue Elvis Writes, to share more of my grief posts.