You’ve graduated from college, found yourself in your (dream) job and find that taking the time to pray just isn’t as easy/conducive as it was in college when you had your cozy Newman family, FOCUS Missionaries, and a quaint little chapel right in your backyard. In your college days you were, in a sense, awesome. That’s right. You prayed your holy hour, attended daily Mass (most days), prayed your rosary and for the really zealous type, the Office of Readings. Wow. You were living a sisterly life without the vows, because really, could you give up boys and those red high heel pumps?
You were awesome. But now, maybe not so much. You wake up at 6:30am to get ready for work. You forget your Morning Offering, you might say grace before grabbing a bagel and some coffee as you head out the door being notoriously late for your 8-5 shift. At lunch you grab a bite to eat, hope to run into your cute co-worker, Rick, who while on the elevator always gives you a little smile and nod. You read a little from your copy of Wuthering Heights. After your break you drudge through the last hours of the day and by 5 o’clock you are wiped out. And you should be. You just spent the day wiping kids noses, answering phone calls/emails, sticking people with needles or delivering the mail. Whatever it is you do, it’s time for a break. You’re hungry. You go home, pop in a Lean Cusinie, turn on the news and veg for a bit. Throw some clothes in the wash, answer a call from your mom, check ignitumtoday.com for the latest, not to mention Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest/etc. Wait. It’s now 10pm. Your eyes are beginning to get tired. You think of what you have to do tomorrow and as you drift off, you think….darn it, I forgot to pray today. Dear God…zzzzz.
How was it so easy before? Did you have more time? Energy? What? Taking time to pray in college can be relatively…easy. If you belong to a campus ministry (Newman, CCM, etc.), you surround yourself with friends who are doing the same thing. They pray. You pray. You go to the center and the Eucharist is waiting for you. It’s easy to make a chapel stop when it’s only 10 feet away. You hear your priest and campus minister talk about the importance of praying daily. You have time to read and reflect. Your schedule is a bit more flexible and it’s just, well, easier.
Out in the ‘real world’ it’s a bit more challenging.
Five tips for keeping up your prayer life in the ‘real world’
1. Set a regular prayer time. Praying the same time each day will help it become more than a habit, but a way of life. Are you a morning person? Get up 30 minutes earlier or better yet, forego your newspaper reading and cup of Joe and spend some time with the Mass readings for the day. Not a morning person? Make it a priority after work to stop in the chapel for some one-on-one Jesus time.
2. Decide on a type of prayer. Pick one of the hours from the Liturgy of the Hours. Start out with a rosary or daily Mass readings. Read through the Gospels. Choose something that you can do each day during your prayer time. Lectio Divina, spiritual reading, you have countless options! There are many great novenas out there too.
3. Find an accountability partner. Join a women’s/men’s group or find another friend that wants to be prayer buddies. It doesn’t even have to be someone in the same town. But do check in once a week, via phone, coffee date, email, etc. Encourage one another and challenge one another. Having a spiritual director will help too!
4. Pray. If you are really having trouble with staying faithful to prayer, ask the Lord to help you. Hey, look at you now, you’re praying!
5. Be faithful to the Sacraments. Attend daily Mass if possible and wipe your slate clean by confession at least once a month! Ahhhh…the grace.
What is your favorite way to pray (daily Mass, holy hour, rosary, etc.)?
How do you keep yourself on track to pray everyday?
“Do we truly pray? Without an abiding relationship with God, it is difficult to live an authentic and consistent Christian life.” Pope Francis, Twitter