Regnum Christi

How to Overcome Pray-er’s Block

How to Overcome Pray-er’s Block
How to Overcome Pray-er’s Block

Daily prayer has been dry for me lately. Every day, I read my Gospel. Every day, I pray that the Holy Spirit will inspire and enlighten me. And every day, at least lately, I feel neither inspired nor enlightened. But also lately, I’ve been realizing that the important thing about praying every day is not the inspiration or enlightenment. The important thing is the every day.


While palpable divine enlightenment would really hit the spot right about now, there’s something to be said for showing up to the Gospel on a regular basis, whether you come away feeling enlightened or not. As a writer, I read a lot about writing, by people who do it consistently and well. One of my favorite authors on the subject is Julia Cameron, who’s made a career out of inspiring people to overcome obstacles – usually ones they’ve placed in their own path – and become the writers they want to be. A lot of her advice on how to overcome writer’s block (that dryness that takes away your ability to write) started sounding particularly adaptable to addressing what I’ve been experiencing recently in prayer (a dryness that convinces me it’s useless to pray). Here’s some of Cameron’s advice on writing, which I’ve adapted to apply to persevering in prayer (in most cases, I’ve just substituted the word “write” for “pray”):


Don’t wait until you feel like praying.


“One thing I know about [praying] is that you do not have to be in the mood to do it.”


If I prayed only when I was in the mood to do so, I’d end up going a long time between prayers. I have to just do it anyways, whether I feel like it or not. “It is a luxury to be in the mood to [pray],” says Cameron (of writing, of course). “It’s a blessing but it’s not a necessity.” She insists that writing, even excellent writing, can be done without the benefit of feeling inspired, and I suggest that praying can be done without the same benefit. “The sheer act of [praying] is the only antidote” to not feeling like praying. Just do it.


Listen more than you speak.


“When… I struggle to [pray], it is because I am trying to speak… rather than listen.”

Cameron insists that “writing is about getting something down, not about thinking something up.” I need to constantly remind myself that prayer is not an act of self-enlightenment; I am not required to think up something inspiring, entirely on my own, that will get me through the rest of the day. All that is required of me is that I be silent.


Use the time you’ve got.


“The trick to finding time [to pray] is to make time [to pray] in the life you’ve got.”

With a family of seven, alone time is hard to find (and pandemic-triggered school closures and work-from-home mandates certainly haven’t helped). “One of the biggest myths around writing is that in order to do it, we must have great swathes of uninterrupted time,” says Cameron, and this belief that I needed a decent chunk of uninterrupted time in order to pray well has, in the past, kept me from praying at all. “The myth that we must have ‘time’ – more time – in order to [pray] is a myth that keeps us from using the time we do have,” says Cameron. “If we are forever yearning for ‘more’, we are forever discounting what is offered.” Don’t wait for the time to be perfect in order to pray – instead, pray in the time you’ve got.


Be honest.


“Telling the truth… always takes you deeper.”

Cameron says that any time she’s stuck on a piece of writing, unable to move forward, she asks herself: “Am I failing to tell the truth? Is there something I am not saying, something I am afraid to say?” Prayer, like writing (according to Cameron), takes emotional courage – the courage to be honest with God, and say “I’m fearful” or “I’m disappointed” or “I’m not in the mood to pray today.” “It is almost impossible to be honest and boring at the same time,” says Cameron, so being brutally honest with God seems like a good way to inject some life into a prayer life that’s feeling dry and boring.


Pray regularly.


“[Praying], when we let ourselves do it, is like breathing. It doesn’t have to be fancy. It need only be regular and steady.”

I try not to be constantly dissatisfied with my prayer life, but when I’m not careful, I can feel disappointed. Disappointed that my prayer life these days doesn’t feel inspired, or transformative, or even halfway good. In fact, the only thing I can say about my prayer life right now is that it’s consistent. And that, I guess, is more than enough, for now.


Unfortunately, I know that none of these suggestions will transform my prayer life into the awe-inspiring, life-changing experience I’m craving these days. But that’s not my goal, or my responsibility, or even within my power. All I can do is just show up, and know that that’s enough.


All quotes come from The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life, by Julia Cameron.

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Alex Kucera


Alex Kucera has lived in Atlanta, GA, for the last 46 years. He is one of 9 children, married to his wife Karmen, and has 3 girls, one grandson, and a granddaughter on the way. Alex joined Regnum Christi in 2007. Out of the gate, he joined the Helping Hands Medical Missions apostolate and is still participating today with the Ghana Friendship Mission.

In 2009, Alex was asked to be the Atlanta RC Renewal Coordinator for the Atlanta Locality to help the RC members with the RC renewal process. Alex became a Group Leader in 2012 for four of the Atlanta Men’s Section Teams and continues today. Running in parallel, in 2013, Alex became a Team Leader and shepherded a large team of good men.

Alex was honored to be the Atlanta Mission Coordinator between 2010 to 2022 (12 years), coordinating 5-8 Holy Week Mission teams across Georgia. He also created and coordinated missions at a parish in Athens, GA, for 9 years. Alex continues to coordinate Holy Week Missions, Advent Missions, and Monthly missions at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cumming, GA.

From 2016 to 2022, Alex also served as the Men’s Section Assistant in Atlanta. He loved working with the Men’s Section Director, the Legionaries, Consecrated, and Women’s Section leadership teams.

Alex is exceptionally grateful to the Legionaries, Consecrated, and many RC members who he’s journeyed shoulder to shoulder, growing his relationship with Christ and others along the way. He knows that there is only one way, that’s Christ’s Way, with others!