Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Taking time to pray

In the past year and a half, I have probably prayed more than I have in my life until that point. But it's still not enough. I'm guilty of often not having a regular prayer life. I'm am learning the power and need for prayer, but I still have work to do in that area.

Martin Luther has been quoted as saying “I have so much to do today that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.” Now I may not agree with some of his other thoughts and notions, but he knew the importance of prayer.

For me personally, I generally pray at night before going to bed. Yes, sometimes I fall asleep before I finish my prayers. But I have also prayed on my way to work in the mornings during my 30 minute drive. But this summer I've rarely had such drives. I do need to work on my prayer life, but more so, I need to learn to just be still sometimes and let God do the talking. I find that I'm always the one babbling on about things.

Father Phan remarked that people today are so busy. We often find ourselves with too many things to do and not enough time to do them. We tend to multi-task which isn't always a good thing - like driving down the road and putting on make-up, reading the paper or talking on the cell phone. (Or perhaps for some people doing all four at once!) When our heads are so full of other things and we're going 90 miles an hour to get xxxx done, we wear ourselves out. In order to function better, we need some down time. Even Jesus and the apostles needed it. The problem was that so many people were desperate to hear His words they hardly had time to rest. Even when they decided to take a break and tried to get away, they were met with more people.

Taking time to stop and pray is our way of recharging our body, mind, and spirit. It gives us unity and better focus. God isn't often on our to-do lists, but we need to take time for Him and remember Him. We are often overwhelmed with things and end up putting prayer on the same level as other menial tasks. We have to realize that in the scheme of things, very few things are really important. We tell ourselves that this, this, and this needs to be done and if I finish all of that, then I'll spend time in prayer. This seems illogical because we should take Martin Luther's stance, and say "I have so much to do today that I should spend some time in prayer beforehand." This way we might realize what is truly important and can ask for God's help in completing our tasks and make sure we're always mindful of Him.

The thing about prayer and talking to God is that we are tempted to forgo it because of a lack of concrete results. We often don't get answers for some time. Sometimes we pray for others and God's work in them takes time. Because we live in a world where we crave and desire immediate satisfaction, prayer is something that ends up on the bottom of our lists. But prayer should become a way of life and not a task.

Daily prayer must become a necessity for us. Prayer helps us receive God's grace and grow in His holiness. It helps us fight our temptations. It puts things into focus for us. We should strive to make prayer a routine habit. Of all habits to have, at least prayer is something beneficial.

So now that I've talked the talk, am I ready to walk the walk? I am going to make the effort to both begin and end my days in prayer. Instead of simply thanking God for getting me through another day, I will ask for His help in it.

No comments: