Dear Sister, Lately I have been trying to start my spiritual journey with God, but when I pray I often find myself just repeating empty words and I feel disconnected. Or I feel like I'm just going through the motions. Can you tell me how to actually feel God during prayer?
Whose words are they? Are they your empty words or are you saying prayers from the backs of holy cards and novenas, rosaries, litanies?
I don't think we're in any real trouble here if that's the case.
If they are YOUR OWN WORDS, then you really have a problem.
It's easy to disconnect from what become rote prayers. When I'm teaching children to memorize something I tell them to work on it until their mouth knows it, until they can say the words without thinking, and the example I use for that is saying a Hail Mary or the Pledge of Allegiance. Your mouth knows that. You can say it without thinking.
Which is a good thing when you're saying a rosary, because while your mouth says the Hail Mary, your mind is mediating on one of the Mysteries of the Rosary. Some forms of mediation empty the mind. The rosary fills the mind.
So if this is the case with you, stop saying rote prayers for a bit and just talk to God. Start with gratitude. That will make you feel better and much more connected right away for all the gifts you have.Did you ever stop to think that it was very smart of God to make you waterproof? What if, when you got wet, you got all soaked and had to run around or stand dripping so the sun and wind could dry you out again? Be thankful that you're waterproof.
Think outside the box.
It's okay to ask God to find ways to connect with you. Be sure and wake up that His answers will astound you. You may not recognize them until after the fact. Terrible things can become blessings. Blessings can become wake up calls. Pay attention!
Let us know how you're doing. It's a great week to be thankful.