We know what a spiritual life is, but what’s a basic way that we can get a daily spiritual plan going? What does a daily prayer life look like? Fr. Hanley offers tips and basic practices that anyone can use to get started in living a life of prayer.
Listen to Fr. Hanley’s podcast on Catholic Bytes to get more in-depth tips.
Plan of Life for Prayer
These are suggestions and a beginning, not a law written in stone. If followed sincerely they will bring you closer to God. Feel free to modify and add practices. Remember that these are not mere things to accomplish, but each is an encounter with our loving Father.
1. Morning Offering
O Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer You my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart, in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world, in reparation for my sins, for the intentions of all my relatives and friends, and in particular for the intentions of the Holy Father. Amen
2. Daily Mass
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. Every time we kneel before the Consecration we enter into the unbloodied re-presentation of Christ’s salvific offering on Calvary and receive its effects. This is why attendance at daily Mass is an inestimable aid for growth in virtue and the spiritual life. Attending daily Mass should be a goal of every Catholic who desires to make progress in love of God and neighbor.
3. Scripture Reading and Spiritual Reading
4. Meditation Time and Mental Prayer
Try to have a goal to set some silent time aside to be with the Lord. You can use what you read in Scripture or other writings as a source for meditation. You can also take this time to speak with God about your life and ask for His help. If possible we should try to do this in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament or before an image of Our Lord, especially the Crucifix.
The Rosary has been described as a schoolhouse of Mary where the Spirit uses Our Lady to teach us about the life of Christ and cultivate the Gospel virtues in our hearts. It can be prayed during some quiet time or during a commute or on a walk. It is great to do as a couple or family.
6. Practice of the Presence of God
Make a habit throughout the day of turning our eyes toward God through quick words of prayer. We can fix certain times of day or places to trigger these prayers. The idea behind this type of prayer is that God is always with us and we need only take note of Him. Be creative in this effort.
7. Prayer Before Bed
–Examination of Conscience followed by an Act of Contrition or another short prayer
-3 Hail Mary’s
-An Act of Entrustment to God:
My Lord and My God; into Your hands, I abandon the past and the present and future, what is small and what is great, what amounts to a little and what amounts to a lot, things temporal and things eternal.
Weekly and Other Practices:
About the Author: Fr. Daniel Hanley graduated from the University of Virginia in 1994 with a B.A. in History. Before discerning his vocation to the priesthood, Fr. Hanley taught high school and worked for a U.S. Senator. He was ordained in 2005 and served as parochial vicar of St. Mary parish in Alexandria, then St. James parish in Falls Church. Fr. Hanley served as Secretary to Bishop Paul Loverde before attending the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C to earn his licentiate in sacred theology. Since 2014, he has been the director of admissions at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, working on his doctoral dissertation at the Angelicum.