"When a soul recognises the will of God and shows a readiness to submit to it entirely, then God gives Himself to such a soul and renders it most powerful succour under all circumstances." - Rev. Jean-Pierre de Caussade

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Making a rule of life work for you {1st P - Prayer}

Read the intro here. With each of these next 5 posts, I want to encourage you to spend at least 2 weeks (or more, depending on how long it takes for a habit to form) focusing on just that area. So for now, make sure you are praying! A lot! Make it a habit and then move onto the next P, person.

I already wrote a post somewhat recently about prayer (go read it!), so I thought I'd mostly just tell you what my day of prayer looks like as of now...

But first! Remember that anything worth doing is not always going to be easy. I don't always want to pray. But I can honestly say that less now than I did a year ago. Most days I actually really do want to pray. The devil wants to mess that up, though, so I try to remember that when I don't feel like praying. 

Okay, now for my [current] day of prayer! This will probably look different in a couple months, and I know it will look different once we add another baby to the mix. That's okay, though. (And don't think your day needs to look like this. We're all different. I almost didn't post this because I don't want you to compare....I just want you to know it is possible to have a decent prayer life with kids.)

So here's how my day looks like now, not including my Lenten extras, in bullet points:

  • Wake up and grab my phone (while still in bed, mind you) to pull up the Laudate app. I have the Morning Offering bookmarked, so I pray that, then I check to see if there's a Saint of the Day (also on the Laudate app). Next I pull up my email and read the Blessed is She devotional, which includes the Mass readings for the day. This takes less than 10 minutes total! All while in bed. Morning Offering + Saint of the Day + Mass Readings + Devotional. I wasn't always good about reading the Mass readings, but now I do it every day and it's been pretty wonderful.
  • In the afternoon, I pray the rosary once I put Chase down for a nap and set Landon up with a quiet activity/movie (no TV during Lent, though...and sometimes I can get him to nap).
  • Some nights we pray a decade of the rosary with the boys after dinner.
  • If Logan is at work once the boys are in bed, I spend another short period in prayer, but nothing specific just yet – I'm still trying to figure out what I like/works best. And if Logan is home, we pray together before going to bed.

Figure out what works for you. Right now, I am not waking up an hour before my kids to pray. Not happening (because, pregnancy...I haven't been sleeping well lately). But I do make the effort to pray a Morning Offering. It really doesn't have to be fancy, or long, or overwhelming. The point is, no matter what you choose to do or how to do it, is to start the day with your eyes fixed on Jesus and He will carry you through the craziness.

(I do highly recommend waking up before your kids though if it's an ideal season for you. I just don't do it when I'm pregnant or when I have a baby who doesn't sleep through the night yet. Give yourself grace, mmkay?)

I know it's really, really hard sometimes, but when you actually do have 5 minutes to yourself, don't think about the dishes in the sink or the laundry that needs to be folded or how you really want to just take a nap. Pray first! You will be so glad you did. And somehow you will also get done what you need to get done. God is good like that.

There are other things I add here and there some days (especially during Lent), like the Divine Mercy chaplet (one of my faves) and Liturgy of the Hours, but I've found that just having at least 2 main periods of prayer and reflection – in the midst of craziness with kids – has been life-changing.

Keep in mind that you might have to change things up a bit, depending on your current phase of life.

  • Maybe you can pray an hour from Liturgy of the Hours as you wait in the doctor's office (There are a couple apps for that if you don't have the books!)
  • Maybe you can pray while nursing a baby...or holding a baby that won't let you put him down.
  • Maybe you can utilize your commute to work as your daily rosary time (but also dedicate time to prayer when you're not driving).
  • Maybe you can stop at an Adoration Chapel on the rare occasion that you get to run errands by yourself.
  • Maybe you can make a deal with your spouse to take turns going to daily Mass once a week while the other one watches the kids at home.

Like I said, figure out what works for you (and your family)! It does take time and lots of effort...and what works for you might change during different seasons. I know it certainly has for me. I used to go to daily Mass a lot when Landon was a baby, and even when Chase wasn't mobile, but now I cringe thinking about bringing both boys by myself (especially now that I'm pregnant). As soon as what I'm doing stops working, I just figure out what will work. Don't beat yourself up over it. I know life might drastically change when this baby arrives in a few months, so I'm preparing for that and getting ideas now on how my prayer life might change.

I should also mention that Logan and I are also starting to incorporate more couple prayer and family prayer throughout the day. But that's still totally a work in progress – and honestly it wasn't until I had my prayer life down that I even considered doing more with Logan and the kids. (And now we're extra motivated after our marriage retreat!)

God will certainly bless your efforts, and as my experience has shown me, it does get easier. Now I can honestly say my day doesn't feel complete unless I've dedicated a certain amount of time to prayer. It's what sustains me and gives me the graces I need each and every day.

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