The Bible says to pray without ceasing, yet how many of us go hours without so much as giving a thought to prayer? In today’s world, it is hard for us to even fathom how it could be possible for us to follow this command. Saint Basil tells us how: “This is how you Pray continually – not by offering Prayer in words, but by joining yourself to God through your whole way of life, so that your life becomes one continuous and uninterrupted Prayer.”
It is no wonder than that we struggle so much with prayer. The modern world has become so deadened to the spiritual realm that practicing Catholics often only think on spiritual things when they specifically seek them out (e.g., going to Mass, going to confession, praying the rosary). What a contrast to times in the past when Church bells would ring out over all the countryside, calling all to put down their work and pray! It seems that in recent years, we have developed a false sense of separation between the ins and outs of our daily lives and the truths of the spiritual world. How do we bring the faith back to being the center of everything we do in this modern, busy age? How do we bring prayer back into our lives?
Organizing the Chaos
Living in the midst of chaos may be unavoidable but letting that chaos into our inner life will suffocate our ability to find peace in Christ. “Surrender to me does not mean to fret, to be upset, or to lose hope, nor does it mean offering to me a worried prayer asking me to follow you and change your worry into prayer. It is against this surrender, deeply against it, to worry” (Day 2 of the Surrender Novena). To pray continually, we must organize the chaos of our lives so we can take on all the demands life places on us without allowing worry into our hearts. This comes primarily from a deep trust in Christ; however, that does not negate the necessity for us to bring order to our lives. By organizing our schedules and keeping track of our responsibilities, we can much more easily discover the peace and space to pray, even while we go about our work.
Prayer and Productivity
It seems at times that Catholics perceive prayer and productivity to be at odds with each other, but why is this? We seem to think that if we’re being productive, there is no room for prayer, and if we pray, we are pushing pause on all the things that really need to be done. However, living in a good and holy way is the most important thing for us to do if we want to live up to our fullest potential in all areas of life. If we make our work a prayer, then the time and effort we put into doing our work well can be more spiritually meritorious than if we were to spend hours on our knees at the expense of living out our vocations. The true key to living a life of continual prayer is to recognize that what God asks of us is to do our best to follow his will in all areas of our lives, and so long as we are continually striving to respond to that call, all we do is a prayer.
Living the Liturgical Year
In the past, Catholics would mark their lives by the feasts and fasts of the Church. Today, it is easy to forget any feast that has not been so secularized that the average person hardly remembers its real origins. How can we make our lives a continual prayer when the world we live in tries to ignore the very existence of God? If we desire to make the faith more real and present in our day to day, we need to revive awareness of the liturgical year. One of the easiest ways to do this is to start using a truly Catholic calendar and planner. If we are immediately able to see the feasts of the week every time we go to schedule an appointment or plan out our week, we will slowly start to tear down the artificial divide between our daily lives and the life of the Church. The new planner from Liturgy of the Home offers a beautiful option for those who wish to truly immerse themselves in the liturgical year. Filled with full-color illustrations for every feast, quotes from the saints, scripture, and indicators for holy days of obligation, fasting and abstinence, first Fridays and Saturdays, and more, the Fiat planner makes being in touch with the faith as simple as opening a planner each morning. The Fiat planner is sold through Sophia Institute Press. Find it HERE.
What Did The Saints Say About Prayer?
“The stillness of prayer is the most essential condition for fruitful action. Before all else, the disciple kneels down.”— St. Gianna Molla
“When you have free moments, go faithfully to prayer. The good God is waiting for you there.”— St. Julie Billiart
“Never forget that it is at the beginning of each day that God has the necessary grace for the day ready for us. He knows exactly what opportunities we shall have to sin, and will give us everything we need if we ask him then. That is why the devil does all he can to prevent us from saying our Morning prayers or to say them badly.”— St. John Vianney
“Everyone of us needs half an hour of prayer each day, except when we are busy – then we need an hour.”— St. Francis de Sales