No Prayer Warrior

Holy Desperation by Heather King

Talk of “winners” and “warriors” with respect to prayer is, to me, oxymoronic. Christ told us to be willing to take the last place, and for me that’s never so much a matter of willingness as acknowledging that I’m there by default pretty much all the time. I’m no prayer warrior, or any other kind of warrior. I’m just a run-of-the-mill, deeply flawed human being who is terrified of not being loved, afraid of dying alone, and surrounded by people who never act the way I want them to.

And who also really wants to be kind and to contribute—to serve, even.

Prayer is like writing. We either do it or we don’t. Talking about it, reading books about it, talking to other people who do it isn’t writing—and it isn’t prayer.

Clearly, we’re not going to be doing other things while we’re praying. Clearly we turn off the TV, step away from the laptop, and put away the phone. I like to light a candle and a stick of incense, a little ritual to mark that I’m about to enter consecrated time and consecrated space. I live in a small one-bedroom apartment in which my consecrated space happens to be The Green Chair. You’ll find your own.

Then the best way I know is just to sit down and talk to God, or open yourself to him, or do whatever feels comfortable or urgent or natural in the sense that you couldn’t hold back even if you wanted to.

Love is like that.

—Excerpted from Holy Desperation by Heather King

13 Comments on No Prayer Warrior

  1. Thank you so much for this. Recently I’ve seen numerous references to using the rosary in “spiritual warfare” and I’m appalled by that imagery. When I watch the news and see horrific images of war, I cannot conceive of praying the rosary, or any other prayer, with “warfare” as central to my conversation with God. I’m relieved to find I’m not alone in my difficulty with such imagery.

  2. Your thoughts reached me. It is the first time I have ever commented. I am a single senior without siblings. I am anxious about dying alone. Most of my family is out of province. I am not RC and I am an active member of a Canadian Protestant church. I happen to do a lot of writing – to shut-ins etc. But I start each day with reading the scriptures recommended on this site and talking to God. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Heather, you expressed my own feelings and thoughts exactly – except that I am not so afraid of dying alone as I am of spending my final days surrounded by careless “carers”! I am so glad you have found your “green chair”. As you say, we can all find our own however limited our living space may be, and yes, praying is just like writing: either you do it or you don’t. Thank you for a most sensitive and inspiring post. God bless you.

  4. Thank you for your encouragement! good to feel that just trying and not giving up is accepted by the Lord . I dont have to win a competition! i must carry on trying<

  5. Heather, I wrote to thank you for your sensitive and inspiring post which expressed my own experiences and thoughts so vividly, but apparently my message was removed. Perhaps you will receive this one.
    I am so glad you found your “Green Chair”. We all need one!
    God bless you.

  6. Thankyou Heather for your thoughts. Sometimes it seems we live a life of quiet desperation. Prayer is a solace when contact with friends and family is limited. Cheers Heather from Australia.

  7. I am so thankful to hear you express my own feelings about the concept of “prayer warriors” I too have been appalled to conceive of anything to do with warfare connected with prayer. I cannot fathom speaking to God in that atmosphere. I too understand that prayer is something we do or don’t do and is a connection and relationship with the God who is Love, and Mercy, Compassion, wisdom, healing, etc. Taking our needs and our hurts to God in prayer but it can never be warfare. It is so good to hear others who have trouble with this concept.

  8. I’m sorry but I like the martial images [being what’s called a “War Wimp” in some quarters.] “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” should be sung as it was written. And “Onward Christian Soldiers”!

  9. As usual Heather said what I needed to hear! The first time I heard the term “prayer warrior” it made feel both bewildered and queasy. It was presented in such a way that if one was not a “prayer warrior” one was not much of a “christian”. I took my obvious failure in quiet disagreement since I didn’t have words, and the words that did come to mind sounded very unkind and um……warlike…… That is not who I want to become.
    And, yes, I have a green chair too! For real.

  10. Dear Heather, Thank you for your comment about prayer. You either do it or you don’t, and books don’t help. Sincerely, Rosemarie

  11. I do pray and attend mass every day.
    I struggled to write my dissertation and brought it to confession.
    After weeks I was still at the same place of not writing it. I made an appointment with the priest I saw at daily mass and suggested that I viewed writing as prayer. Reading your post this Saturday afternoon encouraged me to continue on my journey of writing my dissertation. Some days there was more writing, than others, but I must still sit at my computer and write it.
    God bless you

  12. I was struck by a sense of sadness at this post! I feel great compassion for you, that you have such fears, Heather. Fear is the tool of Satan and therein lies the warfare. Ephesians 6:10-17 says to put on the armor of God so that you can “stand firm against the tactics of the devil”, and that “our struggle is not with flesh and blood… but with the principalities…” Because we are weak warriors does not mean that we are not warriors at all. Our Lady gave us the rosary to combat evil. Prayer combats evil. Love combats evil. But we have to fight. Put on the armor of God and He will cast out the fear. St. Ignatius knew that we had to choose which camp we would belong to. Being a warrior does not equate to pride, it equates to choosing Christ, and choosing boldly.

  13. May the Lord bless us with fearless minds and restore the confidence in our wrists – is a form of prayer out here in our Forest of Joy.

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