Fatigue, lack of time, distraction, indolence… Sometimes it is difficult to find time to pray during the day. Yet, using a few easy-to-implement tricks, it is possible to persevere in prayer without making an effort (too much).
As the book of the Acts of the Apostles reports, the first disciples of Jesus were “assiduous in prayer” (At 1.14). Every day they gathered in the Temple to pray and celebrate supper in their home (At 2.42-46). “Do not cool your enthusiasm, remain in the fervor of the Spirit, serve the Lord, have the joy of hope, hold out in trial, be assiduous in prayer”, also recommends St. Paul (Rom 12.11-12).
However, the more we advance in the Christian life, the more we take the habits and rhythm of modern life. His distractions and his solicitations are all so many obstacles to prayer, without forgetting that we often lack the time (or we simply do not want to pray). So, how to remedy this? How to persevere in prayer?
1Praying with someone
That we should pray is not always self-evident in daily life. Why not get support from a relative or a friend? As a couple, with friends, as a family… Find a person around you and ask them to pray together. Thus you will support each other and both persevere in prayer.
2Progressively impose a discipline
“How does a lamp shine – Mother Teresa asked – if not through the continuous supply of drops of oil?”. Set a prayer time (in the morning when you wake up or in the evening before going to sleep) and put an alarm clock on your smartphone that marks the beginning and end of that time: it will help you little by little to increase the time of recollection. Try to stick to what you yourself have decided. This will help you stay disciplined and not fall into the snare of laziness.
3Turn distractions into prayer
Distractions during prayer are the life of the unconscious that resurfaces. But do you know that even those can be occasions for prayer? When they come to disturb your spirit, offer them to God and transform them into supplication, intercession, action of grace or offer of forgiveness.
Lord, I bless you for these children who give me thought …
I ask your forgiveness for this desire for revenge that I feel burning in my chest when I think of my neighbor …
Give me courage in my work …
Help me to overcome this financial problem that I am going through …
4Soak up the Word of God
“Even if I am absent in the body, I am with you in the spirit, and I see with joy the good order that reigns among you, as well as the firmness of your faith in Christ” (With the 2.5). If praying every day is a difficult exercise for you, rereading the Bible can give you a boost of courage to persevere in this very difficult ritual. For example, you can read the Gospel of the day, follow the Liturgy of the Hours or choose one psalm a day to recite.
5Resort to ejaculations
Everything can be an occasion to raise the heart towards God, who knows the weaknesses of our nature. Repeated from time to time during the day, or in anticipation of a decision to be made, the ejaculatory prayers invite you to taste the grace of abandonment. Small cries of the heart that rise towards Heaven and that will help you to persevere in daily prayer – especially if you are unable to pray.
6Carefully say a simple prayer
In his Petit guide pour une vie transformée (ed. Première Partie), Grégory Turpin, one of the forerunners of pop-spirituality, recommends reciting a ready-made prayer when praying seems impossible. It can be a Our fatheran ‘Ave Maria, the prayer of the heart or another prayer that you have a habit of saying often. Be careful, however, to recite it slowly, to fix your attention on individual words – God is not interested in the empty sound of the voice.
12 lightning prayers sponsored by great saints:
[traduzione dal francese a cura di Giovanni Marcotullio]