Our prayer life has its ebbs and flows. If you are normal, our prayers flourish when we are in crisis, and disappear when we are in good times. How can we level our prayer life out so that we have a consistent, good prayer life?
- Create a place to pray. Prayer does not require a “special” place, but it sure helps prayer to have a real place in our lives. Our cars are important to us, so they have a garage, our pets are important to us, so they have mats, dog doors and all form of supplies to keep them happy and healthy, prayer is important to us, so what does it possess in our lives? We need a place to pray. This might be easy if you have a large house, it might be difficult if you do not. Look for space. It could be a spare bedroom, closet, even a portion of your dresser that is cleared off and set up as a place of prayer. It would do well if the place was private or could be made private.
- Build an altar in your newly created space. Seems formal? Old Testament men and women made altars as a first order of business when they came to a new land. Don’t just furnish your prayer space with a chair or a kneeler, make an altar, dedicate it to God. This will be a surface to place your needs and concerns, a place to put sacred objects such as crucifixes, incense etc, a place to go to meet God.
- Use your calendar! You put your doctor’s appointment on your calendar, so you don’t miss it, why not put your prayer time on your calendar so you don’t miss it? Want to start out with praying once a day? Put it on your calendar, set the alarm, and treat it as a priority, meaning don’t just dismiss the alarm, treat it as an important business meeting. There are apps for this, I use “Universalis”, which rings the Angelus, and all times to pray the liturgy of the hours.
- Have a prayer partner. Society has found that if they want to exercise it is easier if they have an accountability partner, someone who will make them go and run even when they don’t want to. Your spouse or your best friend can meet for prayer once a day, and hold each other to their prayers, their study and their devotions. This meeting does not have to be about prayer, it might just be a daily or weekly checkup to see how each other is keeping their devotions.
- Go to church. Seems simple, yes, but have you gone during the week? Many churches are open, most have pastors in their offices that will open the church for you if it is locked. Go to the weekly adorations, or rosaries, and if your church does not offer them…volunteer to lead them. If it is your responsibility to pray the rosary weekly for 1-100 other Christians, you will find that it rises in importance on your calendar.
- Bedtime. Yes, pray as you go to sleep, pray as you wake. Lying in bed is a great time to pray, and most of us are there, in bed, awake, at least twice a day! (waking and going to sleep) Use the time, don’t waste it worrying about what went wrong in the day or what might go wrong in the coming hours.
- Talk. After all, prayer is at it’s base, simply talking with God. When you are working, driving, playing, doing the dishes, whatever, just start a conversation with God. Tired of your prayers, then just talk to God. At the end of the day, God just wants the relationship with us.