As a way of introduction, I am new here, having started a few months ago managing the social media content for the Apostleship of Prayer. Most recently Father James Kubicki, our National Director, asked me to begin writing a weekly blog on the topic of prayer.
I am eager to do so, as I have been writing on prayer for the past several years and look forward to sharing my insights with you. I primarily write on the practical aspects of prayer as I know from experience that there are many obstacles that prevent us from having a fruitful prayer life and so I seek to help remove those obstacles.
Before I get started, here is a little bit about who I am and where I come from.
I graduated from the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota with a Bachelor’s in Philosophy and Catholic Studies and completed my Master of Arts degree in Theology with the Augustine Institute in Denver. After graduating from Saint Thomas, I worked for six years in a parish as the Director of Adult Faith Formation and was involved in Sacramental preparation as well as general faith formation classes.
I have been married for almost seven years and am eagerly awaiting our fifth child, due at the end of this month.
Over the past several years, my writing has been featured in such places as Crisis Magazine, Catholic Exchange and New Advent. Currently I am also a blogger for the National Catholic Register and a staff writer for Aleteia.
I am the author of the book In the Footsteps of a Saint: John Paul II's Visit to Wisconsin, where I detail a little known trip of John Paul II to Wisconsin two years before he became pope.
To begin writing about the practical aspects of prayer, I would like to focus on the need to find time for prayer which lays a firm foundation for a schedule of prayer, which I will touch on in future posts.
The first step and the true secret to finding time to pray lies in the answer to the question: “am I a rooster or an owl?”
For most Americans, life between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm is uncontrollable. Whether we commute to an office, stay at home with the kids, or have been retired for 10 years, the daylight hours are typically filled to capacity.
This gives us two primary options for an extended amount of prayer time: morning or evening. These two blocks of time are often “blank slates” and we typically have complete control over what happens. Sure we may have to take Jonny to his basketball game, eat dinner, and take out the garbage, but everyday we then choose what to do after the kids are in bed and all the chores are done. We can sit in front of the TV watching late-night television, play hours and hours of video games, or do a whole host of activities.
Now recreation and relaxing after a stressful day is not a bad thing. We need to relax and calm down and certainly should do some of the things that help us de-stress. The main point is that we have a choice what we do before we go to bed and when we wake-up and choosing to pray for 15 or 30 minutes should be a real possibility.
Rooster or Owl
Archbishop Fulton Sheen framed the situation this way,
We all know ourselves and wether or not we have the energy at night or early in the morning. Personally when my head hits the pillow at 9:30 pm, I am dead to the world. I have never been able to stay up much later than 10:00 pm.
The morning, however, is a time that I enjoy. It is not always easy waking up at 5:00 am, but after the morning cup of coffee gets into my system, I have much more energy to spend time in prayer before my children wake-up. I have learned that with kids, once they wake-up your entire day is spent.
Often if I end up sleeping in or the alarm wasn’t set right and I wake-up after the kids are awake, I never find time to sit-down and pray individually. The day is gone and I missed my opportunity.
Are you a rooster or an owl?
Action Item: Today, think about the answer to this question: what time of day am I most alert and able to control? Then, start to think about how you can change your plans to fit in at least 30 minutes of prayer. If that seems like too much to handle, start with 15 minutes. The important point is to start somewhere and then, do it!