Take a deep breath. (Bear with me and give it a try!)
Another: in through your nose…and out through your mouth. Stretch your neck from side to side.
Relax your shoulders as you breathe deeply once more.
Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your heart as we pray, “Come, Holy Spirit.”
If that was the first real breath you’ve taken today, this post is for you.
Loneliness and Longing
I feel inadequate to write about praying as a busy mom. I’ve met incredible, holy women with multiple kids who seem to have it all figured out. Meanwhile, I’m navigating first-time motherhood, with the most energetic 20-month-old you’ll ever meet (seriously, he started walking at 8 months!). I rarely make it to daily Mass, I try to wake up early to pray but can’t remember the last time I actually did, and the likelihood of me finishing a Rosary I started is slim at best.
Why do I share this? Honestly, because motherhood can be lonely. Beautiful, joyful, inspiring…but also lonely. We need to know we aren’t the only ones struggling. We need to know that God still loves us even when we don’t have the picture-perfect prayer life. Because here’s the truth—God wants us to pray not because of a checklist or guilt, but because He wants to spend time with us, He wants to give us peace.
God doesn’t care if our prayer is messy, if we get halfway through a meditation before the baby starts crying, if we fall asleep while praying, if we only have the energy for a simple, “Be with me, God.”
God wants us to love and be loved by Him.
Prayer Hacks for Motherhood
There is a lot going on right now, and the last thing I want to add on your plate is a lengthy, intensive guide to a prayer life that seems out of reach. Instead, I want to share a few prayer hacks I’ve found that have helped me grow closer to God in this season, and introduce you to an awesome tool that has helped my prayer life: Hallow, a Catholic prayer and meditation app.
Live Life with and for Jesus
This is a way to reframe the amount of time we have—however small—to spend with God in prayer. I like to think of this as the difference between sitting down and having a deep conversation with a friend and living day-to-day life with them. Both are so great, right?
In this time of life, I don’t often get to sit down with Jesus and have a long heart-to-heart (which I’ll talk more about later). But I can invite Jesus into my life in small and simple ways.
As a mother, you are literally living out the Works of Mercy: feeding, clothing, caring for the sick, etc. Anytime you feel like you aren’t praying enough, pause and think about how you love your kids. You may not be able to sit for an hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament, but you can spend an hour playing with your kids and loving them well. Jesus isn’t asking us to choose between our daily duties and Himself. We can choose Him in our daily duties. He simply desires to be with us, to rejoice with us, to help shoulder our burdens, to delight in our ordinary life.
So, what can this look like?
- Praying an Our Father while changing a diaper.
- Praying the Rosary on Hallow while out walking.
- Praying “Come, Holy Spirit” when the toddler is upset.
- Saying, “Thank you, God,” when you see it’s sunny outside.
- Praying a minute meditation on Hallow, such as a psalm, when you feel overwhelmed.
- Praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet on Hallow while washing dishes.
Imagine Jesus as your best friend who lives with you, sharing in each moment. How can you incorporate talking with Him, noticing Him, and living life beside Him throughout your day?
Include Your Kiddos
Truthfully, this one doesn’t always work with my son (though he does attempt the Sign of the Cross when he hears Hallow play, and it is so cute). But for older kids, incorporating prayer can be as simple playing Hallow while you drive, doing Hallow’s Family Prayers over dinner, or closing the night with Night Prayer or a Bible Sleep Story.
For little babies, plug in your headphones and listen to a meditation session from the Calm, Love, or Patience praylist as you hold them while they nurse or nap on you.
Schedule Time for Those Heart-to-Hearts
Like I mentioned, this part is a lot harder for me to find time for, and I’m sure many of you can relate. I’ve realized that I need this quiet time with God to balance out the noise of each day.
One thing I’ve found helpful is to lower my expectations and be gentle on myself. An hour of prayer time is unlikely, but I can set aside 5 minutes. Here, I again lean on Hallow. I pick a time, set my alarm to remember, choose a 5-, 10-, or 15-minute prayer based on how much time I have, and give myself permission to have that heart-to-heart, to spend a few minutes still and quiet with God.
Let God Love You
Ask God to show you what He loves about you. Ask Him to show you how to pray. Turn to the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul writes in his Letter to the Romans:
In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
The Holy Spirit prays for us even when we cannot find the words. How cool is that? Ask God to give you peace in your vocation, to assure you that you are loving Him as you love your family. And be kind to yourself. You are navigating a beautiful but difficult season of life.
What has helped your prayer life as a mom? Any advice on prayer hacks for new moms?
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Abby Fredrickson studied English and Theology at Notre Dame, and is grateful for a job that lets her use both as Head of Content at Hallow. Her favorite things include making her husband and toddler laugh, spending time with friends, hearing people’s life stories, and being outside, especially on the beach. You can reach her at [email protected]