By Steve Pokorny
So my daughter walked in on me...
Two months ago, late at night, it happened. My daughter walked in on me.
Last month, she came downstairs to see me on my smartphone.
Two weeks ago, early in the morning, she came downstairs to see me on the couch.
And then my wife caught me
What did she see?
That’s right. My name is Steve and I’m a habitual pray-er.
I can’t help it. I’ve tried to stop. It just...feels so good.
The beginning of my obsession
It all started when my mom mentioned something to me about prayer when I was younger, even dragging me to church as a young boy. I didn’t really get what was going on, but there was a strange sensation that was growing...in my heart.
When I was 16, I found out my mom wasn’t going to win her fight with cancer. So in the midst of such turmoil, I made my first honest prayer: “God, if you’re going to take my mom, send me a sign to let me know that she’s OK.”
Fast forward about a month later where at hospice on the shore of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio, where my mother would pass away. After saying my goodbyes in her room, I walked outside, broken up emotionally. I looked up, begging God to answer me: “Why did you have to take my mom?” I was in deep pain, unsure of the future.
As my mind was wandering, staring off into that clear September sky, two clouds formed in the shape of an X, with a ray of light coming out from the right side of that X. It was my sign. God was letting me know that X marks the spot, that all of her suffering through a 6-year battle had borne fruit in her being guided to heaven (with perhaps a stopover in Purgatory).
I stayed outside for a little while, and as I was about to return inside, my mom’s mother met me at the door. Destraught, she shared: “Steven, I had been speaking with the hospice staff, and they mentioned that your mom would need to be moved back to the hospital because she was holding on longer than they would have liked. I knew this would cause your mom so much pain. So I pray to Mary to take her home, and that’s what she did.”
Perhaps because of my simple prayer, God allowed me two extraordinary signs to know that my Heavenly Father and heavenly mother were taking care of me, right at the moment when I was experiencing tremendous abandonment.
The development of prayer (change this)
Over the years, my prayer styles have changed. From the rote prayers (Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, etc.) to meditation (Rosary, breviary) to different forms of worship (from Novus Ordo to Byzantine Divine Liturgy). I’ve come to realize that prayer is not so much speaking or even listening, but it is about presence, of being loved by Love and then responding to that Love.
This is so important, for this is what the human heart is crying out for more than anything: presence and intimacy. We want to be seen for who we are and accepted fully by another.
This is exactly why the multitudes of lustful images and activities that our pornified culture cannot satisfy, no matter how many times we dive into the septic tank. Pornography reveals a hollow shell of a person, where in the glittery screens of mere performance leaves us aching for something real. This is why those who are attached to pornography, if they're honest, admit that the guilt, shame & self-hatred burns so badly.
Come to the real
We were all made for real love & intimacy, and the Real has this to offer to you.
For you see, GOD IS THE REAL. He is more real than any fantasy, and He can give you way more pleasure that anything this world can provide.
Yet we were not made simply for pleasure. To quote C.S. Lewis, "Joy is the serious (Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer (Harcourt, Brace, and World, 1963-64), chapter 17, p. 93)
and to see another
. "For me, prayer is a burst from my heart, it is a simple glance thrown toward Heaven, a cry of thanksgiving and love in times of trial as well as in times of joy." – St. Therese of Lisieux
Being with Jesus in prayer is like being with a comfortable, non-judgmental friend who simply wants to be with me. Oh, I know. The One I am with puts demands on me. That’s called love. He wants all of me. He keeps telling me He to become one with me, totally. He keeps wooing me with this intoxicating love. I think He wants to marry me. Eternally. The way things are going, I can’t help but say yes.
Before I get to what happened
And now she’s praying the Rosary. Every single day. And she’s only 9!