Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Finding Time for Prayer

"Until you are convinced that prayer is the best use of your time, you will find no time for prayer." -Fr. Hilary Ottensmeyer

I wrote this quote down over a year ago after I saw it on a plaque at a local Catholic bookstore. It was convicting then as now. We modern Catholics are always trying to fit prayer into busy schedules, as if it is an exercise regimine (Jacob's Ladder aside) or a playdate for the kiddos. In so doing, we are presupposing the wrong question. Instead of asking, "where can I find room for prayer?" we should be asking, "how much do I value prayer?"

Let me put this into perspective. It gets lost on us sometimes what words mean, such that the meaning of the above question may not be clear. So, supposing that my readers are all Christians, it really comes down to this decision: "should I spend time in loving conversation with the infinite, eternal, all-knowing, all-loving God, who created me to share in His life and died for me, while I was yet a sinner, for my own good...or should I [insert any other task/activity here]?" Now it seems like a stupid question, huh? Sometimes I think our guardian angels have to be very sore from all the facepalms they must do. Think of all the times you've needed God's help to find something, but use Him as a last resort. "Stupid human! Pray! Why are you looking for your keys in the same spot for the fourth time? Pray!"

As Fiat Men, we should value prayer. I stink at it. I'll be the first to admit it. If we're saying Fiat to God, and we strive to do that always, then we are failing royally, all of us.

Here are a few reasons why people don't pray like they should:

  1. "I don't need to pray about it. I already know where the keys are/what to do with my life." - Really? This is kinda lame. First, it assumes you aren't involving God at all, which is just stupid. It's His plan you're trying to follow! Second, it implies God is only there fore when we think we need His help. Prayer is first and foremost for love, not for favors.
  2. "I don't have time." - If you want less time, don't pray. When you pray, you have God to assist you with the other things you moved to make time for Him. He won't let you down. Bl. Mother Teresa used to get this one from her nuns and would demand they spend more time in prayer. Things worked out better than before.
  3. "I'm using a practical approach." - Prayer is impractical? I teach, and I'm going to start a new policy. I will say at least a quick prayer before applying discipline, before beginning class, before talking with a student one-on-one. I'll let you know how it goes.
  4. "I don't know how to pray." - That's the cool part: on-the-job training. You ask the Holy Spirit to help you and guess what, then you're already praying!

Okay Fiat Men, prayer warriors, go get 'em!



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