Regarding the new iPhone app to help make a good confession (which I thoroughly reviewed here) a reader asks:
I read a couple bloggers didn’t like that the app includes that it is a sin not to pray everyday. They even seem to make fun of that and excuse themselves. What do you think? Is it a sin to not pray everyday?
Yes. It is a sin not to pray every day.
We are entirely dependent upon God for our very existence. Without God we … aren’t.
We are also made in God’s image and likeness, with an intellect and will, the capacity to love. We are in our very being oriented to God.
When you love someone, you want to be with that person, speak to and listen to that person. Even if you are speechless, you long for the other’s presence. We can be separated from any created thing, and people are created things. There are times we cannot listen to, speak to, be with other people. But we cannot be separated from God. If we love God we seek God’s presence (hopefully eternal in heaven), we listen to God, we speak to God. We pray.
Not praying daily indicates a lukewarm view of God in your life.
If we were perfect, our every action and thought would be a prayer, much as how I imagine the glorious minds of the angels. But we aren’t angels.
We little humans need some discipline and help. Holy Church helps us pray more perfectly and according to God’s will during our liturgical worship. There are also a large number of prayers we can pray as good works for the benefit of others. When you pray for the souls in purgatory, for example, you are demonstrating love for God and neighbor, for the dead are still our neighbors: souls in purgatory are still our brothers and sisters in the Church. We show love and gratitude to God when we ask the saints for their intercession. They pray for us before God in heaven. Heaven itself is a glorious liturgy and prayer before God. We foreshadow our heavenly reward when we pray now in this earthly life.
The virtue of religion, which we must all strive to cultivate at the risk of our immortal souls, binds us to give God what is His due: worship. Since this is a virtue, it is habitual. We do this willingly and easily. It is a regular dimension of who we are. The main acts of the virtue of religion are adoration, prayer and sacrifice. The main sins against the virtue of religion are blasphemy, tempting God, sacrilege, perjury, simony, idolatry, superstition and, of course, neglect of prayer.
When we are made for God, in His image, how can it be hard for humans to pray? It is the most natural thing, or would be if it weren’t for the wounds caused by original sin and by the interference of the enemy of our souls. Somethings that should be easy can be hard, unless we have developed the habit. The more you pray, the easier it gets to pray. That doesn’t mean that prayer is fun, by the way. Prayer can be very rough business, because prayer involves honesty and also listening. Listening isn’t easy for modern man. We have many distractions.
But those distractions might be in the place God should occupy. Praying helps sort that out.
Praying helps you avoid hell too, which is a pretty good reason to do it.
Having prayers memorized helps. Praying at regular times helps. Pray regular prayers when you rise in the morning, go to bed at night, and take meals. Put God at the beginning and ending of your day’s activities and you will more easily keep Him in mind in all your activities. Food and drink are very important gifts from God among the many things He gives us. Thank Him in prayer before and after meals.
Is that a simple way to pray everyday? Rising and going to bed? Before and after meals? Is that so hard?
If you can’t or don’t do that – and you know that you ought to – yes, you are committing a sin against the 1st Commandment. God is not in the first place in your life if you don’t pray in someway.
One of the shortest, high impact verses in the Bible is “Pray constantly.” (1 Thess 5:17).
If there is a choice between those who think neglect of daily prayer isn’t a sin, and St. Paul, I’ll stick with St. Paul.
The gravity of the sin of not praying daily will depend on the usual factors. Nevertheless, don’t try to excuse yourself or claim that not praying everyday is somehow okay.
What does it take to say, “My Jesus, mercy!”?
There. I prayed. Didn’t take long.
“Thy will be done!” Yep. Did it again.
Say that and mean it and you are praying too. Say it everyday, you are praying everyday. You could surely do more than that. How about the Lord’s Prayer… isn’t there mention of something “daily” in that one? Doesn’t take very long and I bet you know it already.
Not praying puts your soul in danger, which is a sin. C’mon. It’s just right to pray.
I bet readers can post fantastic quotes from the saints about the need to pray each day… that is daily.