Prayer can be a very interesting thing. It can comes easily to some; it can be a wrestling match for others. Most often, it falls in the middle for a lot of people, varying from day to day. Some days it’s easy and some days it’s a real struggle.
Many times it feels like there is simply no time. Whether you’re a student, a full-time employee, or a professional stay-at-home mom, life is crazy-busy from the moment you wake up until you call it a night. Personally, as a college student, I have a daily routine. In some ways, I’m a perfectionist. If my day suddenly and unexpectedly changes, I freak out. Usually it goes something like this: “Wait??? I’m sorry. I didn’t put this down in my planner!”
My biggest issue was seeing past that anxiety. Once I got past that issue, my days were still far from perfect, but I was freaking out a lot less. I replaced those “freak outs” with some serious thoughts about my faith and how I was using my spare time. We all have those moments of inspiration where we become super on-fire for our faith. There is an intense desire to grow spiritually, to read more scripture, to pray more often. But when it actually comes to doing it? Staying in our bed and watching Netflix or hitting the snooze button instead of going to Mass sounds a lot better.
When I think back on my competitive swimming years, I remember all my double day practices where I had a 5:15am workout and a two hour practice later that evening. I’d push my body to perform like a champion. I wanted to be a champion, so I practiced like one.
If we personally think that something will change us, we always find time to do it. For instance, I found time to always swim.
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So who says it can’t be the same for our spiritual life?
Fr. Mike Schmitz, in a video I was listening to recently, mentions that many of us who struggle with finding time for prayer use that as a red herring. The real issue is that we don’t always see it as worth our time or we quit praying when it doesn’t seem to “work.” We wonder: Will God really fight for us?
Fr. Mike speaks of the story in the Bible where the Israelites are being chased by Pharaoh and his powerful army, all the while God is speaking through Moses. He says that Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:13-14)
Let me repeat that last sentence “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
Fr. Mike went on to say that it doesn’t mean we should just sit back and let God do all our work, or be lazy about our spiritual life. We can’t be of the mindset that we have so much going on and if we stop to pray we will lose time or momentum. Rather, we will only gain in those moments.
I really took this verse to heart this week. Immediately, all times where I could have been praying flashed through my eyes. That doesn’t mean I was in prayer 24/7. While this would be a beautiful life to live, it’s unrealistic. God created us to work and fulfill our duties whatever they may be. He wants us to do them all faithfully.
But I did find a way to make my whole day one, giant prayer. I found that by offering my day entirely to Jesus in the morning, by giving him all my joys and sorrows, I could make everything I experienced throughout the day a prayer.
St. John Vianney once said about the importance of prayer: “Never forget that it is at the beginning of each day that God has the necessary grace for the day ready for us. He knows exactly what opportunities we shall have to sin, and will give us everything we need if we ask him then.”
So I invite you, my sisters in Christ, to find out what it is exactly that might be holding you back. Challenge yourself to pray scripture, pray the rosary, do a morning offering, or even set a time on your phone to remind you to say a short prayer like: “Jesus I trust in you”, or “God I give you my day do as you wish” or my personal favorite: “God I give up. You take care of it.”
To pray like a champion you have to first train like one.
“Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” – Philippians 4:6
Marisa is just a girl aspiring to be the patron saint of awkward situations. She’s a student at Ave Maria University and a lover of the light. She hopes to help make a difference in girls’ lives by showing them that they’re enough, and they’re loved. She has her own fashion + lifestyle blog, A Beautiful Mystery, and she really loves Chipotle.