Every Wednesday during Lent, we will be bringing you some practical steps to live your faith more fully during Lent, as seen through the eyes of CRL staff, members and friends. How do we concretely live out prayer, fasting and almsgiving in a world that is marked by noise and busyness?
How do I fit regular prayer into my daily life?
When I first became Catholic, praying was sort of an anomaly. I knew I loved it and wanted to do it all of the time. Yet, I had to work, spend time with my family and do the other things that a “regular” American woman has to do every day. So, this has always been a question for me—how do I fit prayer into my day and avoid it being rushed, dry or routine? How do I maintain reverence and depth?
Over the years, I have developed a rhythm. And now, I follow a “rule of prayer” that includes an hour of silence, morning and evening prayer, Mass and the Rosary every day. Don’t get anxious! It took me a few years to be able to do this, and I have a particular call for contemplative life in the world. It was very difficult to get used to the rule, and I used to feel guilty when I would miss Mass, etc., but now I know that I do it out of a real love for Christ and not dry obligation. When I miss Mass, I do not feel guilty, but rather a “sorrow”, like I miss His presence, I miss Him—which is such a beautiful thing.
Five ways to start
1. Ask Christ and the Holy Spirit to help you find the time.
This may seem like a small thing—but actually it’s the biggest thing you can do. This is inviting Christ into your life, and at once it is a prayer, even if it doesn’t “feel” like it.
2. Talk to Christ throughout the day.
He is a person and we are in a direct relationship with Him. He is present and He is listening. There are many ways to interact: Ask Him for help, “Lord help me with this conversation.” Ask for His presence, “Lord please be with me in my work.” Thank Him, “Lord, thank you for Your presence.” Or, simply say, “good morning” and “good night.”
3. Offer your work to Christ.
Our every day events like work—and even our joys and struggles—are tangible prayers that we can offer to Christ. We don’t even need a specific reason, but merely offering our work as an acknowledgment of His love and presence is a beautiful way to pray.
4. Choose silence over background noise.
Our lives are very busy and very noisy, and we are so used to this that it seems almost painful to have intended moments of silence. In silence, we are free to listen, hear, see and perceive. We are open to Christ who wants to show us ourselves. It can be frightening to really see ourselves, and for this reason, silence can be a bit overwhelming at the start. The important thing to remember is to start small and persevere. Start by choosing silence instead of something “in the background.” For example: switch off the radio in the car or turn off the TV on Fridays, etc. (More on silence next week.)
5. Make simple acts of adoration
Saying, “I love you” in any relationship is important, but somehow we tend to forget to say it to Him who created us. An act of adoration is a simple, yet powerful form of contemplation. Stop at a few points during the day to simply say, “I love You,” “You are good to me,” or “You are love itself.” Good times to try are upon waking, at noon and before going to bed.
—Morgan Smith the Director of Communication for Catholic Rural Life and the creator of several faith formation programs.