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Dissatisfied with her own prayer life, Betty Vertin looks to a young child as a model of childlike awe.

The past couple of months have been difficult. My faith life has felt dry, stagnant, and quiet. I felt out of step. And as I reflect, it is partly to do with my prayer life. I've been praying with my head and not my heart. 

Earlier this week, as I knelt during Adoration, a prayer catapulted out of me. It had been a bubble in my heart, and it finally burst. It surprised me. Because I didn't know I felt that way. 

During Adoration, I always pray for my children. I start with the oldest and say a specific prayer for each of them about something they are experiencing or need. 

When I got to my sixth child, my daughter Mary, my prayer was, “Please give me faith like Mary’s.” That surprised me, and I sat there and contemplated that prayer. 

Mary received her first holy Communion three weeks ago. And she is a soul on fire with love for her faith. She is not only excited about receiving the Eucharist but seems absolutely in love with Jesus as well. The newness of the sacrament has filled her with light and joy, and she is inspired to try very hard to be holy. Yet she is so inquisitive, too. She is thirsty for more and wants to know all she can about Jesus and the Church. 

She's my sixth to receive first Communion, and although my others were excited for the day and the suit and the party and, of course, to receive Communion for the first time, but nothing close to how Mary has experienced this special time in her life. 




And so my prayer was to be with Jesus and as excited about my faith as my daughter Mary. 

But why was I not already in the same place as my daughter? Yes, the past couple of months have been difficult for me spiritually. I don’t like feeling like I’m in a drought. So why do I feel that way? 

My daughter Mary is young and innocent, and in the best way we can, my husband and I have tried to protect her from the things in the world that are overwhelming or that she is too young to understand and experience. 

The world, the strains and pulls of modern society, and pressures—from work, school, and parenting—have stifled my prayer life. 




Getting used to a baby again after seven years was an adjustment, and I didn’t walk this winter. I love to walk our dogs and typically go for a couple of miles a day, no matter the weather because I love to be outside and need those walks to manage my health and stress levels. However, I didn’t walk with the baby because it was too cold, and I didn’t carve out time in the evenings or mornings before school to continue to walk, because those are busy times in our older children’s schedules. 

We have also had a challenging school year with our 14-year-old son, who is in eighth grade. The school has not met his needs, but he loves the school. The meetings, phone calls, emails, and disappointments of trying to keep him where he wanted to be have caused stress, worry, heartache, and anger. It all took a toll on me and, at times, my faith—because the school is associated with our church. 

My spiritual life has been stalling out. My prayers have become more like a to-do list, asking for God's help finishing this, remembering that, keeping me calm during this, and so on. My heavenly Father took advantage of the quiet space of Adoration to point out that I need to be childlike in my faith again.  


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My prayers have become more like a to-do list, asking for God's help finishing this, remembering that, keeping me calm during this. #CatholicMom


I know my faith life has been a drought. I let being busy and challenging situations leave me struggling. I need this reminder to reevaluate how I've responded to stressful situations. Have I been trying to fix it on my own, or have I gone to prayer first? Have I asked in prayer what I’m supposed to do, or have I just asked God to help me the way I wanted Him to? Have I depended on myself? Unfortunately, I'm answering all those questions wrong. 

I need to step back from all the distractions of the busy world and turn to Jesus. He is awesome, and I need to find my childlike awe. I need to seek what will set my soul on fire, and that's Him. 



Copyright 2023 Betty Vertin
Images: Canva