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Breathing new life into prayer

Molly OConnor

Young woman praying by Petr Kratochvil (CC0 1.0)

Oh where, oh where has my prayer life gone?

I have been thinking a lot lately that I need to consult God more in my day to day life. It sounds obvious, but having worked in ministry and many a Catholic organization, sometimes you get caught up in thinking that your work is enough.

Sure, we should strive to pray without ceasing and to pray as we labor through the day. But the problem is right actions are not supposed to take the place of prayer, they are supposed to go hand-in-hand with prayer.

I find my prayer life goes through cycles—unfortunately, it’s stronger when I need something, I have anxiety, or I am offering up a specific intention. It’s not so good when things are going well—even when I rationally recognize that why things are going well has everything to do with answered prayers and trusting the Lord in difficult times.

It’s easy for me to pray for something or someone. It’s hard for me to incorporate other types of prayer into my daily life, even if I find other types of prayer beautiful.

So going forward into Advent, I resolve—not just to say I want to live my prayer life with the liturgical seasons—but to commit to concrete ways of doing so. I resolve to look at petition, adoration, confession, and thanksgiving in the context of my own life. To get back to my daily offering prayer that I love so much and to stop getting lost in my everyday life so much that I forget to look upwards and outwards.

This resolution may only mean insuring I attend to one of these areas each week, but if I can’t find time for God as a single person, how will I make time for Him when I am in the midst of a vocation to the married or religious life?

Advent is a particularly fitting time to look at my prayer life, as I prepare and wait for Christmas. If it is a challenge normally to maintain an active prayer life, it is even more difficult amidst a season busy with work, family, friends, travel, and traditions (and other less noble things, like consumerism). Advent is a time set aside from Ordinary Time in the Church to remain focused on the hope, peace, joy, and love that comes to us via the incarnation of Christ.

So as you rush around town preparing for guests, cooking, cleaning, maintaining family traditions, or traveling, I invite you to join me:

Remember to take a moment to slow down and be still. ‘Tis the season for prayer.

Topics: Advent & Christmas , Faith , Personal Growth , Prayer , Relationships

Molly is a native Oklahoman and a freelance writer out of Princeton, NJ. She received her M.A. in International Affairs from American University in Washington, D.C. and her B.A. in Politics from the University of Dallas. Her writing interests include international development, U.S. politics, poverty, and Catholicism. Formerly with The American Spectator, she is currently the Communications Director for the Chiaroscuro Foundation and a volunteer program assistant for The Kevin Rohan Memorial Eco Foundation in Nepal.

View all articles by Molly OConnor

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August 1, 2014

Saint Alphonsus Liguori, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

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Mt 13:54-58

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