1. Build a Daily Practice of Prayer (even if it means praying in the bathroom)
Prayer is simply a conversation with Jesus. Of course, formal times of prayer are spiritually beneficial, however, daily life can sometimes make them impossible. While a simple chat with Jesus can happen any time and any place.
Through these frequent exchanges we build a firm foundation of faith and strengthen our relationship with Christ. Just think of the relationship you would have if you only spoke with a friend at Christmas and Easter?
Ideas to Stay Connected in Prayer:
- Pray when you first wake up or just before you fall asleep.
- Pray in your car — as your drive to work or running errands pray for your neighbors, the people in your community, and even the dead as you pass a cemetery.
- Pray during chores, nothing makes folding laundry, washing dishes, or vacuuming more appealing than praying for the people who dirtied them in the first place.
2. Develop a Daily Practice of Reading the Scriptures
What a gift the Bible is! We have been given access to the teachings of God, think about the magnificence of what the Scriptures provide us. The inspired Word of God available for us to read, ponder, and learn, through the power of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit. It is kind of mind-blowing!
How often have you wished Jesus would just appear and speak comfort or wisdom into your current situation? In the Gospels, we are provided this incredible opportunity to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear his teachings. The more time we spend listening to him through the Scriptures, the more apt we will become in hearing his voice speak directly to our heart.
Ideas to Stay Connected through the Scriptures:
- Read the daily Mass readings.
- Sign up for a daily email such as the Catholicmom.com daily Gospel Reflection.
- Try “Bible Roulette”. Simply pray for the Holy Spirit’s guidance, and then open the Bible to a random page and let Jesus surprise you. If the Holy Spirit could use a variation of this practice to convert a doctor of the church, aka St. Augustine, it is certainly something to consider for building your faith.
3. Continue Your Faith Education with Spiritual Reading
Despite what many believe, Confirmation was not our “graduation” from religious education but instead is our invitation to seek a higher education in the Catholic faith. When we consider the fact we are seeking to probe an infathomable God it is truly impossible to deplete the resources available to grow in knowledge of him.
Spiritual reading can be incorporated into personal prayer time with just a few pages of a Catholic classic a day or integrated into leisure reading with a good saint biography. We are blessed to live in a time when the choices for spiritual reading is almost as inexhaustible as the God we seek to know through these works.
Ideas to Stay Connected through Spiritual Reading:
- Read the Exploring the Catholic Classics: How Spiritual Reading Can Help You Grow in Wisdom, by Tiffany Walsh (monthly contributor at CatholicMom.com, contributing writer for The Catholic Hipster Handbook); part of the Stay Connected Journals for Catholic Women series available from GraceWatch.Media.
- Join or start a book club. Consider beginning with a Catholic fiction book
- Pick a classic to read for Lent. After building a daily reading practice during Lent, you may find it easier to incorporate it into your everyday prayer life.
4. Meet Regularly with Others on the Same Journey
The Apostles were sent two by two to bring the Gospel far and wide. Jesus knew they would need each other as companions and support on their journeys of faith. We too need others alongside us on our faith journeys. There are great benefits to being connected with friends who can lift us up when we are feeling weak or discouraged in our faith, or being able to offer that support likewise to our friends. It is also a joy to be surrounded at times by people who share in the joy of living a life seeking a deeper relationship with Christ.
Ideas to Stay Connected through Companionship:
- Start a small group faith sharing or bible study at your church.
- Really live the “gospel of hospitality” and invite others into your home for a book club.
- Create a virtual faith sharing group via your social media.
The Stay Connected series of journals for Catholic women was developed with these 4 Practical Tips in mind. After 10 years in small group faith sharing, I desired a resource that would be easy to complete despite the demands of a busy life, yet still spiritually packed to assist us to stay connected to Jesus and to each other.
Each Book in the Series Features:
- An exploration of the topic through each author’s personal stories, Scripture, the teaching of the Catholic Church, the wisdom of the saints, and prompts to personal prayer and reflection.
- Plenty of space for journal writing, so that readers can make a personal response to Christ’s invitation to a life of grace…and so that members of small faith-sharing groups can come to meetings better prepared for a great discussion.
- Seven short chapters (between 10 and 20 pages each).
- Beautiful graphic design by Agape Studios.
The first three journals are currently in production and are available now for pre-order through GraceWatch.Media — click here to order yours.
The Gift of Invitation: 7 Ways Jesus Invites You to a Life of Grace, by Allison Gingras (Reconciled to You blog, A Seeking Heart with Allison Gingras video podcast);
Exploring the Catholic Classics: How Spiritual Reading Can Help You Grow in Wisdom, by Tiffany Walsh (monthly contributor at CatholicMom.com, contributing writer for The Catholic Hipster Handbook);
Invite the Holy Spirit into Your Life: Growing in Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control, by Deanna G. Bartalini (DeannaBartalini.com, contributor to CatholicMom.com, Amazing Catechists, and New Evangelizers).