In Need of the Spirit to Pray

“Paul’s ‘we do not know how to pray  as we ought’  has probably never been as relevant as it is today. We live at a time of spiritual drought. The images of the world which in former times spoke of God have become obscure ciphers and riddles, the words of scripture have been whittled away by rationalistic skeptics, human hearts have been so crushed and trampled on in this age of the robot that they are no longer sure that contemplation is possible. Prayer finds them basically full of doubt, insecurity and despair; they creep along close to the ground and dare not stand upright. They feel drawn to every negative act; ready not only to doubt God but also to resist him, perhaps even to hate him for letting the world carry on as it does, for being so high and aloof, above the need to intervene. For he is so sure of himself that he can expose his children to fear and darkness in this vast, unbounded universe, giving them no hope but nothingness, no consolation but the certainty of death. . . .  Nowadays the temptation to say No, to yield to weariness, is very strong.  Anyone with any receptivity to the question of the meaning of existence is put under such temptation that he has to strain every sinew to resist the current.”

– Hans Urs von Balthasar, Prayer, pp. 99-100.

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