Wednesday, August 26, 2015

3 Really Simple Ways To Improve Your Prayer Life

Full disclosure: I often have a hard time maintaining the kind of prayer life I want to have.

I doubt I'm alone.

I wonder off in thought during the Rosary, I accidentally pray bedtime prayers before dinner (cue the sounds of my kids laughing at me), and I sometimes go through an entire day without praying at all.

I'm often left wondering if there are some concrete ways to stay on track, and even if there are, I'm left wondering if they'd ever work for someone like me.

Well, people seem to love weblog posts that have lists in them, and I haven't really done much of that on my little slice of the internet, so I figured I would share three easy things I do to try and keep my prayer life on track.

1. Wake Up Early

Trust me, I totally understand if this idea already has you scrolling over to click the "X" in the corner of the screen.

Waking up early can be completely terrible, especially when you have to be up in the middle of the night thanks to your little supreme gifts of marriage.

But, if you can manage to grab even 15 minutes of time before the kids wake up, it can make a world of difference.

I'm sure you've seen the #HeroicMinuteChallenge from Arleen Spenceley and Leah Darrow floating around Twitter over the last couple of months. I would encourage you to take the challenge and try it out!

Waking up before everyone else to sip a little coffee and say a quick prayer, or read the daily readings, can really set the tone for a great day...especially thanks to the early sips of coffee.

2. Thank Jesus Throughout The Day

In all fairness, I stole this one off of Mother Angelica (by the way, can Immaculate Heart Radio please consider putting her back on the air for my commute home? She is awesome!).

A great way to pray throughout the day is to rock a quick "Thank you, Jesus" for all the little things that go right along the way.

Car starts right up? Thank you, Jesus!

Boring meeting gets cancelled? Thank you, Jesus!

Kids take a nap for the first time in what feels like forever? Thank you, Jesus!

Okay, that last one is kind of a big one...

But seriously, thanking Our Lord for all the little things that go right during the day goes a long way toward helping orient us to keeping our eyes on Him, and appreciating all that He does for us.

Not to mention that it fosters an attitude of gratitude, which can really help to keep us upbeat and positive come what may.

3. Offer It Up

I know, I've been hearing this forever, but it really works!

We got through so many difficulties each and every day, both big and small, and it really makes a difference if we don't let those frustrations go to waste.

Everything we go through can be offered up for some greater good, and consciously doing so makes bearing the daily difficulties of life so much easier.

If sitting through a terrible meeting at work is like cruel torture, I can make it easier to get through by consciously offering up my "suffering" for my wife, asking God for some relief from her toils and tribulations at home with our three crazy kids.

If not being able to find a parking space at work makes me want to just bang my head against the steering wheel and give up for the day, I can offer that up, along with the arduous walk from a far distant space, for any intention I please.

And even more than just making it bearable, it can kind of making it joyful.

I'm serious!

Offering these things up to the Lord helps up to actually doing something productive with our suffering, and that feels good.

Pick One And Give It A Try!

One of the most important things I have learned in trying to grow in my spiritual life is that I can't go from epic sinner to canonized saint all at once, as much as I want to.

Whenever I have tried to go from zero prayer on Monday to knocking out all hours of the Divine Office on Tuesday, I come up well short, and then end up feeling guilty for failing.

Instead, we should pick one small way that we can take a step forward, and after getting that down, try adding another small way.

Small steps...that's the way to improve our prayer life.

Why not start now?

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