Praying When in Consolation

woman sitting content outdoors

Don’t you love praying when it’s easy to show up to prayer? Or when you feel God’s presence during your prayer? During a season of consolation, it is easy to name the graces given to us by God.

St. Ignatius offers us wisdom on what to do when we are in this season of prayer.

  • Relish the graces. “For it is not much knowledge that fills and satisfies the soul, but the intimate understanding and relish of the truth.” (SE 2) When we feel God’s presence and are receiving clarity in prayer or new insights, we are invited to savor the graces.
  • Pray for graces given to us to deepen. Ignatius invites us to return repeatedly to what we’ve received so that what we were given can take deep root. When God bestows on us a gift or a grace, our hope is that the gift is not just a flash in the pan, but something that is long-lasting.
  • Prepare for the desolation that will surely come. “When one enjoys consolation, let him consider how to conduct himself during the time of ensuing desolation, and store up a supply of strength as defense against that day.” (SE 323) This is still one of Ignatius’s rules of discernment that I don’t always love to implement. When I’m in a season of consolation, I don’t want to think about desolation. However, if I look at the history of my own prayer life, I know I will not stay in consolation forever. The gifts of consolation help me fight the desolation that will eventually come.

Our faith lives ebb and flow between consolation and desolation and between abundant seasons of prayer and dryer seasons. So when we are in a season of consolation, we store up graces by savoring them and praying for them to deepen so that they can carry us through the season of desolation that we know will come.

About Becky Eldredge 112 Articles
Becky Eldredge is a writer and spiritual director in Baton Rouge, LA. The author of Busy Lives & Restless Souls, Becky holds Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Education from Louisiana State University and a Masters in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University New Orleans. She has her Certificate in Spiritual Direction from Spring Hill College. Becky has been involved in ministry for more than 15 years, with the majority of her work in retreat ministry and adult faith formation. While ministry is one of her passions, her greatest joy is sharing life with her husband, Chris, and her children, Brady, Abby, and Mary.

8 Comments on Praying When in Consolation

  1. Recent abundant prayer happened when I made a public declaration of love to my spouse to mark anniversary of our marriage, and received heartfelt acknowledgment from 93 friends in a day.

    Deeper roots formed when on a recent and infrequent visit to family, my folks pointed a way to an optimistic future. My brothers stood as stalwart and engaged supporters to my adult sons in moments of self-doubt.

    Desolation is not to pour rain on one’s parade, but to serve as a reminder to savor and deepen the fruitful prayers that will sustain me through the spiritual dry periods. The whole is spiritually greater than the sum of the parts. Thanks for the share, Becky.

  2. Thanks Becky, for this article that remind all of us how God is always on us. I personally didn’t see that way, but the way that you put it, just make sense!
    Thank you again

  3. Thank you. YES I AGREE THAT WE NEED TO SAVOUR OUR GRACES DURING C0NSOLATION. I WILL DO THAT AND SPEND MORE TIME. I REALISE THAT
    IT HELPS WITH DESOLATION. I JUST EXPERIENCED IT TODAY AND AM AMAZED AND THE WONDER THE LORD IS DOING IN MY PRAYER LIFE. I AM GLAD I DISCOVERED YOU.

  4. I am so upset that in a period of desolation that I cannot pray , and any prayers are for help and not thanks that my God is with me. So this is so helpful to remember the prayers and actions that I did when in a period of consolation. Thank you for reminding me that my God understand stands me.

  5. How true! I recently experienced a long period of desolation but didn’t realize it immediately. Now that I am in consolation I can look back to understand better what triggered the desolation. I want to pray for the grace to understand better living in both desolation and consolation. Thank You!

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