It’s easy to fall away from prayer. There are many times when I will have a steady prayer life for a few weeks at a time, and then go months without reading my Bible. The only nourishment I get is going to Mass.
I’ll feel the difference. It will feel as if God has moved away from me, stopped talking to me. And I have to remind myself that I am the one who moved away from Him.
I will be the first to admit that many times, I am just too lazy. Yet, Jesus has never been lazy about me. How can I feel lazy towards someone who died for me? When I stop and think about it, it sounds harsh. Actually, it is harsh.
A busy schedule can also keep prayer life away from us. We have school, jobs, and maybe even a family to take care of. We have a routine and any alone time we get is spent taking a shower.
But this is why love is about sacrifice. Christ proved His life for us when He sacrificed His life for our sins. Can we not sacrifice a few minutes during the day? Maybe 10 minutes less of sleep. Perhaps we can re-arrange our schedules just a bit, or even learn to pray on-the-go.
The amount of ways we can pray is a bit overwhelming, but it’s also beautiful that there are so many ways to be in communication with God. We have daily Mass, and if not, we can meditate on the daily readings. Another option is to pray from a daily devotional, read books, or pray a novena.
Personally, I would love to have a holy hour every day, but sometimes, that just doesn’t happen. But I always make sure I have some form of quiet time with God, even if just for a few minutes. And remember that even if your Bible isn’t open, you can still talk to Him throughout the day.
This year, I decided that I am going to start and end my day with at least 10 minutes of prayer time. In the morning, I have been using the Laudate app to meditate on the daily readings and the reflection. At night, I try to either meditate on scripture or read. Right now, I’m studying “The Imitation of Christ” and journaling it as I go. In addition, I am praying the rosary every day. I pray it either when I first wake up, or an hour or two before I go to sleep. But if you need to, you can always break it up throughout the day.
Originally, those were my only spiritual goals for 2019, but after a moving experience at confession, I added just one more idea to my list.
I’m giving up screen confessions.
When I first started going to confession on a regular basis (I go once per month), knowing that there would be a screen between the priest and me put me at ease, and I remind those around me of it too whenever they are feeling anxious. It’s difficult to examine yourself and talk about it, to see if we are truly living up to the virtues, treating others as God would, treating ourselves as if we are made by Him, and loving God as much as we possible can. And I am always embarrassed by how much I fail to be a representation of Christ, inwardly and outwardly.
The screen was a blanket for me. A comforter. And of course, it’s traditional to have one. I respect the screen and I always will.
But I’ve realized how much being face-to-face with the priest humbles me. I feel more open when I can see the face of the priest. And not having a screen makes me transparent to him. While it is definitely intimidating, it is a reminder to me that Jesus sees all of me and still loves me just the same. When I am face-to-face with the priest, not only do I feel more connected to Christ, but it reminds me that I cannot hide from Him.
So the year, I encourage you to not only make prayer a habit in your daily life, but to challenge yourself. Make a promise to God to do something that puts you outside of your comfort zone.
In fact, it’s been said that challenges are what make us grow.
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