Consistent prayer has always been a struggle for me and long periods of prayer are nearly impossible, due to lack of motivation and the demands of being a stay at home mom. So this Lent, I have written down my prayer resolutions and have been trying (often failing) to stick to them.
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I take a few minutes between sips of coffee to read through the Magnificat morning prayers and a few favorite pages out of the Mothers’ Manual and the Catholic Prayer Book for Mothers. All three are wonderful resources and provide short, inspirational prayer prompts.
Throughout the Day
Raising my thoughts in prayer throughout the day is a constant struggle but I hope someday to make a better habit of the “Pray Without Ceasing” idea (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- When you hear a police car, ambulance, or fire truck siren, pray a Hail Mary for the officers, paramedics and anyone involved
- When you pass a funeral home with a parking lot full of cars, pray for the soul of the deceased person, as well as that person’s family and friends.
- When you do laundry, prepare a meal, take a shower, or go to bed at night, ask God to comfort those who don’t have clothes to wash, food to eat, running water to use, or a bed to sleep in.
- When you see a cemetery, pray for the souls of the people who are buried there, as well as the souls of your loved ones who have passed away.
- When you see a sunrise or sunset, smell fresh baked cookies, hear your favorite song, or taste something delicious, pray for those who are blind, deaf, or unable to experience life through their senses.
- When you are impatient, frustrated, or going through a struggle in your life, pray for the poor souls in purgatory who are patiently, painfully awaiting their entrance into heaven
This one has been really difficult to keep on with but my resolution is to read a few chapters of the Bible every night (Psalm 103 is a new favorite), as well as do an examination of conscience.
This particular format is one that I found and often use from the Laudate iPhone App
Daily Examination of Conscience: CPR Method
C = Claim your blessings
Reflect on the good things that happened to you today, and explicitly recognize God’s hand in them. He has been loving you every minute of the day, thinking about you, drawing close to you. Thank him for the little blessings and the big ones. See his gaze of love directed toward you. Ask him to help guide these few minutes of prayer.
P = Pinpoint victories and losses
Taking a kind of “helicopter” view of the activities of the day, examine how you lived them. Where were you selfish in your decisions, attitudes, words, and actions? Where were you virtuous and generous? Also, examine how you responded to the Holy Spirit’s inspirations throughout the day. As you do this, ask for (and accept!) God’s forgiveness for the times you gave into selfishness or temptation, and thank him for the graces he gave you to do good and to be faithful to his will.
R = Renew your loving commitment to Christ
Finish by renewing your faith in God and your desire to know Jesus more clearly, to love Jesus more dearly, and to follow Jesus more nearly every single day. If possible, make a specific resolution (proposal of amendment) regarding something you will have to do tomorrow – something you can do to show Christ your love in a concrete way. End with an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and the sign of the cross, or another favorite prayer.
One last note: Another great resource that I was recently gifted is 33 Days to Merciful Love that is similar to the St Louis De Montfort Marian consecration except this is a consecration to Divine Mercy. There are 33 one page daily reflections and short prayers followed by the 34th consecration day.
Today’s prayer from page 36: “Come, Holy Spirit, fire of mercy. Help me to believe in God and his lover for me, even when life seems meaningless, routine, and empty.”
My two-year-old is teaching me about prayer. She has always been a cuddle bug, she loves to be held and to be near people, especially her Momma. Now that she is old enough to voice her opinions she very loudly and clearly says “Hold You” and will toddle around the house yelling “Mom-MY, Mom-MY” when I am in another room. However, as much as she wants to be with me she will often not come when I call back: “I’m here, come in here.” She will continue to stand where she is or wander through the house calling for me until I go to meet her half way. Sometimes she will even say “Come BACK here!” in as loud and stern a voice as a two-year-old can muster.Of course as soon as I pop my head around the corner she will come often running with a big smile and a cheery “Hi Mommy!”
I couldn’t help but think the other day as I was echoing her calls across the house that this is very much like how we sometimes pray. We ask God to hold us, to help us and then when He responds we stand still or we continue to wander aimlessly instead of running to Him to be caught up in His embrace. We want to be with Him but we want Him to come to us. We even order him to”Come BACK here!” Yet we tend to wander in a daze even after we ask for Him instead of responding to his call “Come, Follow me.” If we can but learn to follow, that smile of recognition can be ours as we pray and His voice will lead us straight to the place we need to be.
May we all make it through, whatever trials, frustrations and distractions we are facing, one breath, one moment, one prayer at a time.
Thanks to BethAnnsBest.com for the writing inspiration!
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” Philippians 4:8.