By Carol A. D’Annuzio
[dropcap]A[/dropcap]s Christians, we know the importance of making time for prayer. We want to foster our relationship with Jesus and know spending time with Him is the only real way to do that. We also know that finding time for prayer can be a challenge. We make excuses. We get caught up in caring for our children and all the responsibilities of our day, leaving prayer a distant thought.
If you want to make prayer a priority but cannot seem to find the time, here are some ideas that may help your find time to pray:
1. Get up early. This can be hard, especially if your children are early risers. Still, if you can get up even 20 minutes before your children and spend those moments with the Lord in prayer or reading the Bible, you will be pleasantly surprised at how big of a difference it can make for the rest of the day.
2. Make a prayer appointment. We make hair appointments, doctor appointments and all kinds of appointments so why not make a prayer appointment? When you are calendaring your other appointments for the week or month, blot out a time for prayer each day or at least once a week – and stick to it.
3. Pray as a family. Praying as a family is an awesome way to not only find time for yourself to pray, but also instill a habit of prayer in your children. It doesn’t have to be long. You can do five minutes of morning devotions before school or pray a decade of the rosary after dinner.
4. Hide some aspirations around the house. This might sound crazy, but it does help! Write little aspirations (such as “Jesus, I trust in You” or “Sweet Jesus, be my salvation”) or scripture verses down on sticky notes and post them inside your kitchen cabinets, doors, mirrors or any where around the house where you will see them frequently.
5. Pray while you work. If you work from home (or a stay-at-home parent), put on a rosary CD or worship music to listen to while going about your business.
6. Exercise. Use the time you exercise to listen to spiritual messages, prayers or worship music. Going for a run or bike ride? Do not be so quick to put on those headphones. Use this time to pray and chat with our Lord, Our Lady or the saints. Lifting weights? Say an aspiration with each repetition.
7. Pray in the car. Going on a long trip? Listen to the Bible on tape for a while. Throw on a CD of the Divine Mercy Chaplet or worship music while on your way to or from the store, appointments or activities. Dropping the little ones off somewhere? Spend a couple of quiet minutes in the car before driving off to your next destination. Picking them up? Get there a few minutes early and sit in silence with the Lord before they show up.
8. Turn off the TV. Believe me, I know how tempting it can be to plop down in front of the television after a busy day. You want to get off your feet, relax and rest your mind. Could you wait 30 more minutes to work on a bible study, read the Catechism or pray the rosary first before turning on the TV?
9. Pray in bed. If he or she is willing, take a few minutes to pray with your spouse before drifting off to sleep. Having trouble getting to sleep? The cadence of the rosary or divine mercy chaplet is very soothing and easily can put your body and spirit to rest.
10. Join (or form) a prayer group. Getting together with other people to pray for and support one another in your journey with the Lord can be a wonderful blessing. If there is not a group already formed, get a few of your friends and see if they are interested in joining you. Each person can take turns hosting or you can all meet at a central, nearby location.
Obviously, you probably will not be able to do all these suggestions every day. What is important is to take some time to strengthen your relationship with the Lord; so, take it slow and experiment with these different ideas until you find the ones that work for you.
Carol A. D’Annunzio lives a simple, (fairly!) quiet life as a child of God, wife, homeschooling mother, homemaker and entrepreneur.