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Feeling Stuck in Prayer? Dr. Edward Sri Shares Inspiration for Spiritual Dry Spells

Prayer is a key component of our faith lives, but it does not always come easily. Father Dave welcomes back friend of the show Dr. Edward Sri to discuss his new book and online study, “When You Pray: A Clear Path to a Deeper Relationship with God.

Dr. Sri explains how the book functions as a tool to use during prayer. “Many people don’t know how to pray. They don’t feel like they’re good at it, [they] get distracted,” he says. “How do I allow God to really guide my life and transform it? That happens in our interior or daily life of prayer. So the book is 30 short reflections that you can use in the chapel or wherever you’re praying. It’s filled with wisdom from the saints.”

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“We also filmed a faith formation series that can be used in a parish, in men’s and women’s groups, Bible studies, and for families,” he continues. “We filmed all over Italy. There are many different sites of the saints, where saints visited or where saints are buried, and we really wanted to make the saints human.”

Dr. Sri notes how our name “Busted Halo” applies to how he discusses saints. “Sometimes when people look at the saints, we see them with all these halos; we can make them [out] to be so perfect. Don’t get me wrong, they were perfected in Christ, but we can make them so idealized as if they weren’t human,” he says. “They were like us, they struggled in prayer. They made mistakes, they had disputes, there were conflicts, and God met them in those weaknesses.”

Father Dave says, “I really liked your chapter on faithfulness over feelings…I think sometimes we wonder, I haven’t felt like I’m in a relationship with God, or I haven’t felt good. I haven’t had that mountaintop feeling since I went on that retreat in college, and now [it] just feels like I’m going through the motions.” Dr. Sri says how profound moments of faith are important blessings, but a relationship with God is more than our human emotions.

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Dr. Sri expands, “Real love is not about the feelings. In a marriage, for example, you have romantic feelings, but those come and go. Sometimes you just have to show up. That’s why faithfulness, just showing up for prayer, making prayer a priority and taking time to be with God is more important than any kind of emotion or feeling I get in prayer.”

For those who struggle in prayer, Dr. Sri offers a personal story that highlights the importance of our intention when building a relationship with God. “One Mother’s Day, my little girls went into the backyard to the fields behind our house and picked flowers for [my wife] Beth. They put them in a vase filled with water, and were so excited. But they didn’t pick real flowers; they were weeds. These were like thorny, spiky weeds that look like they came out of Mordor,” Dr. Sri recalls. “Beth was so excited to receive them because, while she knew these were ugly flowers, she saw more than what was in the vase. She saw their heart, that they wanted to give their mommy a present.”

He continues, “So no matter what happens when we come to prayer, even if our mind wanders, if I fall asleep, or I feel like it just didn’t go well. No matter what’s in my vase, God sees that I at least came and I was sincerely trying. I was trying to give him my best. He sees that and he rejoices; we should never walk away feeling discouraged.”