“Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1Thessalonians 5 16-18
“Prayer is the raising of one’s mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God.” (St. John Damascen, De fide orth.) Catechism of the Catholic Church #2590
I started this article with one thing in mind but I got no where in writing it. It didn’t feel right or flow right but as I took time to ponder and pray about it each day I realized that I was forcing my ideas not what the Holy Spirit wanted for this article.
As much as I would love to be a hermit as St. Paul of Thebes was; my life is on a completely different path. So how can I pray constantly yet be a mother, wife, daughter, friend and live in this world? It has been a long path getting here and I am not completely done with this path, I could actually say I just started on this path but I do pray “constantly” in my busy life.
Now there are the short prayers, “Father please help me to find a parking spot or please help me get through this Mass with my kids alive, or Thank you God.” but there are also lots of Hail Mary’s and just saying Jesus. But for me these are repetitive prayers and sometimes not always the holiest of prayers. I believe though that Jesus takes any and all of our prayers, short or long, happy, sad, angry and turns them into a wonderful grace that he sends back to us.
There are many days, as an introvert, I have to ask the Holy Spirit for the right words or just the courage to say words. The Holy Spirit and I have gotten on really good terms especially as my kids get older and I have to be more of a extrovert then an introvert. I think the Holy Spirit really has gotten the raw end of this deal but he takes my pleas and prayers and always, always allows his grace to flow out of me and onto those I am talking to or with.
I love to cook, sew, and knit and during those mundane moments I can turn my mind and soul on Mary and Jesus and God. I can have a heartfelt conversation with my best friend, Jesus and tell him everything that I am struggling with, want, need, and thank him for always being by my side.
I was told long ago that sometimes when you awake during the night and can’t return to sleep there is someone who needs your prayers. I have started to pray Hail Mary’s and just asking the Lord for his blessing on whoever needs the prayer at that moment when I can’t return to sleep. Many times on my daily runs, I offer a mile of happiness or suffering depending on how far I am running, for certain people who need the extra prayers. I try to teach my boys that offering their hunger or pain during Mass up to Jesus for other children that doesn’t always make it better but it does help send grace to those they pray for.
“In his teaching, Jesus teaches his disciples to pray with a purified heart, with lively and persevering faith, with filial boldness. He call them to vigilance and invites them to present their petitions to God in his name. Jesus Christ himself answers prayers addressed to him.” CCC #2621 As this passage says, Jesus wants us to have vigilance and present our cares to him and God so they maybe answered. Maybe the answers we want are always the ones we get but does that mean we can’t take that back to God and say, “Ok, I get that this is not what you want for me but thank you for loving me and answering me.”
As you can tell I don’t do much in the form of formal prayer. That doesn’t mean that the liturgy of hours, rosary, novenas, divine office prayers aren’t a great way to make sure you get your prayers in throughout the day. The biggest one I am working on is examination of conscience each night. A few other prayers I have used to get through my day are repeating three times a day “My peace I give you.” then feeling his warmth flow over me and remembering to live in his peace. Also, in case you can’t make daily mass, you can do a morning offering by saying “Jesus, I offer you my works, prayers, joys, and sufferings of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world.” and then complete a Sign of the Cross and Our Father three times that day.
Another simple way to pray is to do the Sign of the Cross and mediate as you are doing it on the Trinity and what the Sign of the Cross means to you. The last but not least and most simple way to pray without ceasing is to say the name “Jesus” whenever and where ever you are and especially in times of need.
“Call To Daily Prayer” contributed by LeAnn Fechter.