The life of prayer is filled with challenges and blessings. It’s only when we’re willing to embrace the spiritual sufferings of prayer that we’re able to see and receive its graces.

In prayer, we are called to give a filial adherence to God. By surrendering ourselves to him and his will, the living God is able to strengthen us and give us the unexpected but necessary gift of filial boldness.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church begins its explanation of filial boldness by describing this disposition within the life of the Lord Jesus: “Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before receiving his gifts, so he teaches us filial boldness: ‘Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.’”

There are many things in this life that attempt to steal our boldness. Whether its temptation, fear, anxiety, or self-doubt, our fallen world wants us to cringe and cower at its feet and so beckon to its every whim.

In the spiritual life, we face a similar struggle. There are many things that seek to rob and steal our filial boldness from us. Whether it’s voluntary doubt, a weakness of faith, idolatry, superstition, or a mercantile quid-pro-quo sense of prayer, there are spiritual enemies that want us to be cowards and weaklings in the things relating to God.

We break through all our barricades and barriers by turning to prayer and receiving God’s supernatural grace and divine wisdom. An empowered faith, motivated by a love of God and neighbor, is unstoppable. Nothing can hinder the progress that comes with faith, hope, and love.

The Catechism teaches us: “Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: ‘All things are possible to him who believes.’”

It is faith that needs prayer and prayer that nurtures and enriches faith. If we turn away from prayer, we accept the dark and fearful views of a fallen world. We create caricatures of God and then justify in our own fallen minds why we need to stay away from him and how we can handle the struggles and difficulties of life on our own.

Without prayer, we think we are strong on our own, but we are weak and deluded. There is nothing more tragic than human weakness left to its own devices and fast-pacing through life, constantly trying – with all its hoops to jump – to support the lie and parade itself as somehow a bastion of surety and strength.

The opposite, however, is also true. The more we commit ourselves to prayer and allow our weakness to become a means of God’s power, the more we understand him as our Father, who loves us and cares for us, and the more we can trust him in difficult and dark days. The more we pray, the more we become strong in him. The more we pray, the more our filial adherence comes to fruition in filial boldness.

The Lord Jesus calls us to a life of prayer and faith. In his public ministry, the Lord experiences sorrow over the lack of faith and joy over finding faith in unexpected people. The Catechism explains: “Jesus is as saddened by the ‘lack of faith of his own neighbors and the ‘little faith’ of his own disciples as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.”

The Lord is grieved when faith is lacking on those who should shine as beacons of faith. He also rejoices and stands in admiration of those whose faith is spontaneous and unanticipated. The Lord does not find faith among those in the covenant with God, but he finds faith among the Gentiles who are outside of the covenant.

As in the Lord’s public ministry, so today in the life of the Church: Is there greater prayer and faith within the Christian community, or among those outside of the Lord’s covenant? The Holy Spirit will work in any soul that is open and responsive to his promptings. Are we seeking to be a people of prayer so that we can be witnesses to faith?

For the believer, there can be no faith without prayer. Prayer comes with its challenges, but it also comes with its blessings. If we pray, then we open ourselves up to receive the blessing of a deeper faith and other spiritual goods.