How many times have we all been guilty of being "too busy" to pray? Lately, I have noticed that I have been guilty of going through the motions of life and not taking time for my soul.The graces we receive from God are given freely, yes, but they are also a result of our relationship with Him. In any relationship, communication is key. That communication is prayer. I wanted to reflect on and share the ways that I naturally inject forms of prayer into my day throughout the week.
1. Listening to the Word- I use the free app Laudate which has free resources for Catholics. They have a wide variety of prayers, readings, a copy of the Catechism, podcasts and so much more. Every morning the app offers a morning prayer and I try to read it while I'm still in bed or while I'm brushing my teeth. USCCB audio of the daily readings is on while I am in the shower. I do some of my best thinking in the shower so why not have that be spiritually themed to start off my day. The impact is that I have been able to be spiritually fed first thing in the morning before the challenges of the day have a chance to rear its head. This has been able to transform anxieties for the upcoming day into opportunities to live out my gifts.
2. Praise and Worship- Some days I listen to one or two songs from my Spotify playlist and it sets such a peaceful tone during my day. It can be while I'm doing a stressful task at work or while I'm out and about running errands. Many people are shocked to learn that I play songs of adoration during my competitions and even when I’m training for my next power lifting competition. Music has always been my favorite form of prayer and praise to God. It makes sense that I lean on music to offer up everything from a competition squat to an email. There is nothing like humming the bridge to ‘Holy Spirit’ right before your last lift of competition.
3. Planner- The last couple of years I have been intentional in the type of planner I purchased. Last year I used “The Catholic Planner.” I appreciated the weekly reading excerpts and the prompts to reflect on the Sunday readings. It even included a 40-day Lenten reflection area. This year I opted for the Blessed Is She planner. The feminine focus of the planner along with prompts for daily reflection on blessings has been a nice addition. At the beginning of the planner, there is a plethora of prayers, quotes and verses from Scripture. There have been countless times where I opened my planner to that page and read a quote or prayer and it allowed my heart to open up freely to God. I love technology, but I will always be a paper planner person. Having prayers, reflection prompts and reminders of Catholic tradition in an object I use many times a week has been amazing.
4. Liturgy of the Hours- Once again, I have an app for that. The iTunes podcast has prayers for each day. I often listen to the morning or evening prayer during my commutes. The beautiful tradition of praying the Liturgy of the Hours with the mixture of hymns, readings and call and response adds an element of prayer and reflection that often leads me to a deeper conversation with God.
5. Stranger Intercessions- This is has been something that has been new for me. I commute by bus and sometimes by train daily to work and work functions. That allows me a lot of time to observe others. Sometimes I observe frustrations and joys of strangers during my commute. I have practiced offering up prayers for the strangers I encounter. These types of intercessions have also lead to praying for clients or coworkers. I believe it has allowed me to be perceptive. It has changed moments where I might be tempted to judge others to opportunities for charity. Sometimes I ask the Holy Spirit to allow me to see an encounter through God’s eyes. Those who we might view as burdensome or annoying are so beautiful in God’s eyes. That burdensome person that asks a ton of questions at a meeting is actually so passionate about their job that they want to make sure they understand it completely.
I’m still swept up in the hustle of life and competing responsibilities but these practices have helped me refocus. So when I’m tempted to further disconnect from that crucial communication with the One Who seeks all that we have to give I turn to these 5 simple but powerful prayer habits.