After a long spell of prayer, do not say that nothing has been gained, for you have already achieved something. For, after all, what higher good is there than to cling to the Lord and to persevere in unceasing union with Him? (St John Climacus, The Ladder of Divine Ascent)
Pray without ceasing. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
To pray without ceasing seems almost impossible to do. However, there are ways to pray sporadically throughout the day and come close to praying without ceasing. The problem is remembering. Our daily schedules can be so difficult and crazy that we cannot find the time, much less remember.
It should be easy for me. I work at a church office, for heaven’s sake. I think of God and God-related matters all day. However, doing office work does not always constitute thinking of God.
For example, when I am working on such things as the bulletin, my mind is thinking of type fonts and graphic images and downloads, etc. Of course, I try to offer it up – all of my work. But that is not the same as praying unceasingly.
So I have come up with some ideas on how to pray unceasingly – or as often as possible. (This is not a complete list nor is it in any kind of order. Also, a period of silent prayer is important sometime during the day.)
1. Saying the Jesus Prayer over and over – Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner.
I first started praying this prayer years ago on the advice of my spiritual director who suggested that it would help me with my depression. He told me to pray it every chance I got. He also told me to shorten it. He said I was already depressed and did not need reminding I was a sinner! So I would pray – Jesus, have mercy.
So I prayed it for months. It got to the point where, no matter where I was or what I was doing, I would start praying it immediately. I needed no reminders at that point.
It is a beautiful way to stay in touch with Jesus all day (and yes, it helped my depression).
By the way, The Way of the Pilgrim (anonymous) is a book that tells the story of a pilgrim who prays this prayer all day everyday after hearing St. Paul’s words about praying without ceasing.
2. Alarm on iphone (or similar device that you use) – with a one-line prayer that pops up! I have mine set for three times during my workday. When it rings, I usually just breathe in the name of Jesus. At least for that one moment, I am focused on Him.
3. Write a prayer or favorite bible passage on a piece of paper, laminate it and use it as a bookmark. Put the bookmark in the book you are reading right now. Or just have it on the table to remind you.
4. Put a sticky note on your bathroom mirror (or your desk at work or wherever) – with a brief prayer or just a reminder to pray.
5. Play a Christian music cd in your car. And be sure to sing along!!
6. Keep a Rosary ring with you. I have one in my car and it is a great reminder to pray the rosary and easier to use when driving. My commute to work and church is 35 -40 minutes so I have time to pray 5 decades of the rosary. Or pray 1 decade at a time on a shorter drive.
7. Liturgy of the Hours – Morning, Evening and Night prayer (Compline). Pray by yourself or with a group.
8. Morning offering – thank God for the new day and be sure to offer it up to Him. Any prayer will do. Here is a children’s version – Good morning, dear Jesus, this day is for you. I offer you all that I think, say, and do. Amen.
9. Examen – at the end of the day, look over your day to where you saw God. This is an Ignatian way of praying that I seem to be drawn to lately.
10. Journal – write about your life with God. Write Him a love letter. Write a prayer. Write 5 things you are most thankful for that day.
What are some of your ideas to add to the list?
Copyright 2011 Colleen Spiro