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Growing in Prayer

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Avila Institute, Dylan Jedlovec, Prayer

Growing in Prayer

Growing in prayer is one of the most important things we can do in our spiritual lives. In fact, our entire spiritual life is dependent on the state of our prayer life, the foundation of our relationship with God. The Avila Institute provides a place for the faithful to make progress in the spiritual life by taking courses designed to help bring their minds and hearts closer to God.

“Prayer is difficult, challenging, and life-changing. The journey into prayer, into the heart of God, is the reason we were made; it is the reason God brought us into existence.” These words from Matthew Kelley, found in the forward of Into the Deep: Finding Peace through Prayer, remind us of how essential prayer is in our lives. Take a minute to reflect on these words:

“Prayer is difficult, challenging, and life-changing. The journey into prayer, into the heart of God, is the reason we were made; it is the reason God brought us into existence.” 

If prayer is the reason God brought us into existence, wouldn't it be important that we get it right? Although prayer is the most important thing in our lives, we get it wrong far too often. We get it wrong by not praying enough, by quitting when it gets tough, and by listening to the voice of the world more often than we listen to the voice of God. All of these things keep us from growing in prayer.  If we truly believed that prayer was the thing for which we were created, we would spend a lot more time in prayer seeking to grow in union with our Creator. If we truly believed that growing in prayer was the most important thing, then we would not quit when we encounter difficulties or get busy with the work of our day-to-day lives.

Even when we want to improve our prayer lives, sometimes it is hard. Sometimes we feel like we do not know how to pray. While this can be a frustrating realization, it is necessary to understand this. The first step in prayer is accepting that we do not know how to pray. Recognizing our insufficiency makes us receptive to grace from the One who is sufficient to fulfill us. When we acknowledge we cannot do anything, even pray, without the grace of the Holy Spirit, we open ourselves to receiving the grace of God. The fact of the matter is that we are incompetent in the spiritual life on our own. Fortunately, God gave us many tools to help us in our journey. He gave us the sacraments and the Church. Within the Church, He gave us great saints who have written down their experiences to help us when we feel like we are helpless. The saints were people who were successful in prayer. Through them, we can learn how to persevere and grow in union with God.

Growing in Prayer with the Avila Institute: 

Applying for the School of Spiritual Formation is easy and free, and all of our courses are offered online. Students testify time and time again about how our courses help them overcome barriers in their spiritual life. Each course costs $150, and full and partial scholarships are available on a need-basis. 

If you are admitted to the school, you can sign up for any of the courses we offer in any of our four quarters. You can see a full list of our upcoming courses and dates offered by visiting the webpage for the School of Spiritual Formation. You can take as few or as many classes as you would like.

If you have any questions about how we can serve you, contact us at See a full list of course dates here.


Art: A Hermit Praying, Gerrit Dou, between 1645 and 1675, PD-US author's life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Dylan Jedlovec

Dylan Jedlovec was formerly an Operations Administrative Assistant at the Avila Foundation, parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio. Finishing up an undergraduate degree in Marketing and Economics from Samford University, Dylan is first and foremost a disciple of Christ and a son of the Church. Dylan has a heart for evangelization on college campuses, and has worked closely with FOCUS as a student missionary and served as President of the Catholic Student Association at Samford. As a member of the University Fellows Program at Samford, Dylan developed a love for the writings of the Saints, particularly the Doctors of the Church, through his studies of the core texts of the Western Intellectual Tradition. This love for the rich intellectual tradition of the faith brought him to the Avila Foundation, where he seeks to further the kingdom through feeding Christ’s sheep. In his free time, Dylan enjoys watching baseball, reading, hiking, running, and lifting weights (although you can’t really tell).

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