Sign Up for our Free Daily Email Updates / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Difficulties in Prayer and the Importance of Posture in Prayer

Difficulties in Prayer and the Importance of Posture in Prayer

Overcoming difficulties in prayer and the importance of posture in prayer.  What are the Church’s guidelines about kneeling and genuflecting? Dan and Melissa discuss these topics and more as they answer questions from listeners.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Has Dan always found spending time with God in prayer easy?DivineIntimacyRadioWithDan&Melissa
  • Does it get easier to pray as we progress in the spiritual life?
  • Tips on developing a robust prayer habit.
  • How does the enemy try to disrupt your prayer life?
  • Are we required to kneel at Mass if it causes pain?
  • What does the act of kneeling at Mass signify?
  • Why do people prostrate themselves before the Lord?
  • Why is your posture in prayer important?
  • What are the Church’s guidelines for kneeling and genuflecting?
  • Are there legitimate reasons for not observing the rubrics regarding kneeling and genuflecting?


  • EWTN Religious Catalogue – online
  • Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation
  • The Collected Works of St Teresa of Avila, Volume One – Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez. Contains Book of Her Life.
  • The Four Waters of Prayer, Part II of II – Post on by the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles
  • The three ways: purgative, illuminative, unitive — Four part series on (all parts linked to each other)
  • Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God – Daniel Burke with Fr John Bartunek
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church – Part 4, Section 1, Chapter 3, Article 2: The Battle of Prayer
  • Rubrics – New Advent link
  • Why don’t people kneel at Mass? – post by Dan Burke on
  • Ceremonial of Bishops –  A book that describes the Church services to be performed by Bishops of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church.
    • “A genuflection, made by bending only the right knee to the ground, signifies adoration, and is therefore reserved for the Blessed Sacrament, whether exposed or reserved in the tabernacle…” (CB 69)
    • “No one who enters a Church should fail to adore the blessed sacrament, either by visiting the blessed sacrament chapel or at least by genuflecting: Similarly, those who pass before the blessed sacrament genuflect, except when they are walking in procession.” (CB 71)
  • Inaestimabile Donum –  Instruction Concerning Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery, Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship “The venerable practice of genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament, whether enclosed in the tabernacle or publicly exposed, as a sign of adoration, is to be maintained. This act requires that it be performed in a recollected way. In order that the heart may bow before God in profound reverence, the genuflection must be neither hurried nor careless.” (ID 26)
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – “May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – USCCB Bible link
  • Questions? Send an e-mail to or call 818-646-7729. — please leave your name, location and question.
  • Click on the arrow below to listen to the show! Don’t forget to tell your friends about the show and help us get the word out. If the show is inspiring to you and you would like to help us make it a daily show, please click here to donate. All donors will receive a signed copy of your choice of Dan’s new books: Finding God through Meditation30 Days with Teresa of Avila, or Navigating the Interior Life. Click HERE for mobile devices or on the arrow below to listen to the show:
Print Friendly
Profile photo of Dan Burke

About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

please consider supporting our mission with a donation!

  • Judy Silhan

    Dan and Melissa, as someone who has listened to these broadcasts each Friday morning since Divine Intimacy Radio came to life, I would like to tell you that your program continues to get better and better each week, today being one of the best yet. So much wisdom was packed into such a short time span.
    Thanks, Dan, for sharing that it took you such a long time to get to where you are with your prayer life, and that it is work, and not meant to be easy, over time, easier yes. As a student at Avila for two years, now, and having been given the “spiritual tools” needed for a meaningful prayer life, I berate myself because I often do not have the discipline to give our Lord the time I promised Him during the day, It was consoling to hear you say that some people may stay in the purgative way for years. Guess there is still hope for me.
    The other question you addressed, about kneeling in Church, was really one I have often asked myself, as I cannot kneel, or so I thought, until you spoke of suffering. As you spoke about offering up the discomfort we may feel in kneeling, I was reminded of the passage I had just read from St. Faustina’s Diary, and had asked God to give me such a desire. She says in par. 276: “From the moment I came to love suffering, it ceased to be a suffering for me. Suffering is the daily food of my soul.” As you said, is it something you really cannot physically do, or is it more discomfort?
    I also had never quite understood the idea of lying prostrate before our Lord. I recently had the privilege of seeing a young Seminarian friend ordained as a Deacon, and wondered what his thoughts were as he laid prostrate before our Lord. Thank you so much for the explanation of this and the idea of humility in one of its greatest forms. Melissa, thank you also for admitting that you considered the idea that people would laugh at you for lying prostrate; but that you found the experience to be quite different.
    So many more thoughts about todays broadcast; but I have probably written too much already. It will be wonderful when more people will hear Divine Intimacy on EWTN. God Bless you for all that you are doing to bring others to Christ.

    • Clanci45

      You said it all very well, Judy it was such a blessing I forwarded it to some friends as well. Thank you, Dan, for addressing the meme…I was more than upset with the meme artist. …thanks for speaking to the desire of the heart. I can genuflect if I hang onto the pew to pull myself back up. I converted from Anglican so we had alter rails…I so desire to kneel to receive and I could with a rail but I can’t without. When I see young people able to kneel and get back up my heart desires that….

  • Jeanette

    Love your enthusiasm…thank you!

  • Pingback: | Catholic Spiritual Direction | Posture during Mass and St Peter of Alcantara's Preparation for Meditation - / Catholic Spiritual Direction / Catholic Spiritual Direction()

Skip to toolbar