My schedule this semester is crazy. Some days I not only feel like it is hard to stay above water but I literally feel like I am drowning. And when you get so terribly busy then it is more difficult to maintain your prayer life. I am sure that we have all experienced those days or seasons when our prayer life has seemed to have been swept away by the waves of our complicated, hectic and tiring schedules.
Last week I was sharing with a priest about the busyness of life and prayer. Because this semester is particularly challenging I have had to be more realistic and not so hard on myself when I am not able to put in all the time that I wish I could into prayer. Normally I like to spend at least an hour before the Blessed Sacrament each day. I relish this time to be with Jesus and allow him to speak to me and love me. Recently, however, I have had to be satisfied if I can get 10 minutes of that beautiful, peaceful silence with Him. This priest shared some great advice and I would like to pass it along – though the compiled list and reflections are mine. So, if you are finding yourself stretched for time to pray, perhaps this may help you to see things through a different lens:
1. Be realistic. No one is more realistic than God.
2. Rest with God. Think about the things that you do everyday, even if you are busy. Things like sleep, eat….and rest? I used to think that I was ‘wasting’ time by perusing through facebook or instagram. I realized that this was really my times of ‘rest’ throughout the day. We all need to step away from work once in a while. Instead of resting with friends through facebook, try to rest with God instead, even if it is just for 5 minutes.
3. Evaluate the form of your prayer time. I realized that I spend most of the hours of my day reading and writing and thinking abstractly. My life as a philosophy graduate student takes a lot of mental energy. Although in the past I would spend time every day meditating or doing spiritual reading, I found out that it was not so successful when I have spent the majority of the day pondering arguments about act and potency in the separate intelligences or whether perfect happiness does consist in an act of the intellect. Sometimes it is more beneficial for me to sit with my eyes closed and pray the Our Father slowly than to pick up a spiritual book only to find myself becoming more tired and stressed.
4. Offer up your schedule as a prayer to God. The many hours I spend every day using my mind and philosophizing is my work for the kingdom. It is the instrument by which God is currently calling me to serve Him. So I begin everyday by falling to my knees, asking God to be ‘Lord of my life and King of my heart,’ and then I simply give him my day and its work.
As Edith Stein has said, “…all one can do is try to live the life one has chosen with ever greater fidelity and purity in order to offer it up as an acceptable sacrifice for all.”
5. Trust in God’s love and find peace. Attack your work for the day with the confidence and peace that God loves you and is using it for His greater glory and honor.