I remember a conversation that I had with my dad years ago. He said, “I don’t think I pray good.” He and I never really had these types of conversations, so I was taken by surprise. He prayed before meals, went to church, recited the rosary. And I pointed these things out to him. He acknowledged these things but said, “Yes, but I don’t pray like you do.”
When he said this, I knew what he meant. He meant talking to God like we talk to our friends. Sharing our thoughts rather than reciting a memorized prayer is very different. Rote prayers are still important and a way to communicate with God, but they are different than speaking freely with Him.
I was so grateful to have the opportunity to have this conversation with my dad. I explained that God hears what’s in our heart. He gives us the ability to pray so that we can become more mindful not only of His presence in our lives but also in order to direct our path.
From the beginning of time, God has been trying to communicate His love to us. Even when I was buried in porn, I could turn to God. I begged that He would put to death my sex drive because it was consuming my life and destroying me. At that point, though, I couldn’t hear His voice. The demons were too loud.
After my Divine Mercy Consecration, I began focusing on trusting in God’s sufficiency and His ability to provide for my daily needs. Once again, initially my consecration wasn’t an intervention to try to address my masturbation and porn addiction. I just thought it would be a good Lenten discipline.
I feel as though God sort of felt like I did during my conversation with my dad. I was so happy that he felt comfortable sharing his vulnerability with me. My dad grew up during a time when “conversational prayer” was not something anyone would think of doing. He didn’t know what to say. I like to think that what I shared with him made him feel better and allowed him to connect with God better.
When God heard my heart’s prayer and saw that I was focusing less on words or petitions and more on trusting that it was in His very nature to help me in all things, I imagine that he had the same sense of excitement that I had with my dad. But I feel that if I was only striving to pray freely to God in order to get something—namely freedom from porn addiction—I would have had a harder time actually finding freedom from porn. In other words, it was important that I began praying freely to God just to commune with Him with trust as opposed to only get something from Him, even if that something was good for me.
I am reminded of when Zechariah, John the Baptist’s father, was visited by an angel to inform him of his wife’s pregnancy with John. He laughed at this and, as a result, was made mute until his son’s birth. Instead of seeing this as a punishment, perhaps it was necessary to prevent Zechariah’s disbelief from somehow messing with the plan? Since I had tried and failed so many times to get out from under porn, maybe the Lord allowed me to struggle until I was ready to seek Him for His own sake and not just to be free of porn?
The more I focused on trusting God, the more I look to God who is love and trusted Him to meet my every desire, the more freedom I found with respect to porn and other areas of life. In this way, prayer with God is not primarily something we do to “get something” from Him, but to simply be with Him in love.
Jim Gorski is a 57-year-old father of four children who has been married to the same woman for 34 years. He completed his master’s degree in social work in 1984 and has directed church music groups for the past 39 years. He remains a grateful child of the most high God and strives to trust in God’s loving mercy and His ability to provide for Jim’s every need.