It’s 5:30am. I set two alarms on the quietest setting and barely hear them. After pushing snooze a couple of times, I finally roll out of bed and tiptoe past my sleeping baby.
The door creaks.
I pause, heart pounding in my chest.
Baby stirs but thankfully seems to be settling back to sleep. I make it all the way down the stairs and turn on the tea kettle. As I spoon coffee grounds into my French press, the rich, nutty aroma filling the air, I grab the baby monitor. Both kids are still asleep. It’s been a successful 4 minutes- this might actually work!
I pour coffee into my cup, stir in my coconut creamer, and think about where I will start. Meditative prayer? SoulCore? Scripture reading? A rosary? Hmm, there are so many possibilities, where to begin–
“NNNOOOOOO! I CAN’T!!!!!!!!!!” my toddler screams. 5:38 am. Shoot. I made it a full 8 minutes without anyone waking up… goodbye quiet time alone with the Lord!
Am I The Only One?!
Has this ever happened to you before? Maybe you woke up early to get in a work-out, or get some work done, or even to just drink an entire cup of coffee while it’s still warm. I’ve tried waking up before my kiddos for many reasons, not the least of which is prayer.
But seriously, HOW do they have that built-in mom’s-awake-it’s-time-to-rally sensor?
I’d be lying if I said this didn’t frustrate me. Especially because I’m NOT a morning person! I hate waking up early and I love sleeping in (to the ripe old hour of 7 am now that I have kids… gone are those glorious days of waking up just before noon!) Getting up early for me is a huge sacrifice which then feels like a colossal waste when someone (or everyone) wakes up at the same time.
Why Does This Happen?
I could interpret this as a sign that God just doesn’t want me to pray. Because if He did, He’d keep my kiddos asleep, right?
Well, of course, that’s not right. Instead, He’s teaching me how to get creative and be persistent with prayer. He wants me to just keep showing up to pray, through the chaos and busyness.
So today, I want to chat with you a bit more about developing and maintaining a prayer life and a relationship with God when you’re busy 24/7 and don’t have the space alone to complete a thought, let alone finish a rosary.
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But First, What Exactly Is Prayer?
I love this simple definition because it points out a few key things:
- We pray both with the mind and from the heart
- We ask for good things
- We ask that God’s will be done, not our own will
That last part is, arguably, the most difficult, but also an important reminder that HE is ultimately in control. But that does NOT mean we shouldn’t ask. In fact, He gives us very specific instructions on that point:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
Matthew 7:7-8 + Luke 11:9-10.Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, 2004
And in John 16:24, Jesus tells us,
“Ask and you will receive, so that your joy may be complete.”Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, 2004
Why Is Prayer Important?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, we learn to “rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” And Jesus himself reinforces this many times throughout the Gospels as well.
But prayer is more than just reciting traditional prayers or presenting a list of requests or things we are thankful for- it requires a relationship with God. And just like any other relationship, it takes work.
If you met up with a friend you haven’t seen in years, you wouldn’t feel comfortable pouring out the depths of your soul over a quick cup of coffee, right? So in the same way, if you’re finding this difficult to do with God, it may be because you haven’t developed a close relationship- yet.
So let’s chat about that-
How To Develop A More Personal Relationship With God
The best advice I can give is to just show up. And keep showing up.
It may feel awkward at first, just like that coffee date with a friend whom you haven’t spoken to in years. But when you push through that awkward phase, you will find that the conversation begins to flow easily and naturally, and, before you know it, the time has flown by and you can’t wait to meet up again.
In an awesome talk on praying with scripture, Fr. Lappe tells us that “fidelity in prayer leads to growth in prayer.” So the more you show up and pray, the more you will grow in prayer and thus in your relationship with God!
“We pray as we live because we live as we pray.”(CCC 2725)
But What If I’m Not Feeling It?
If you find that you don’t feel like praying, then you need to do it even more! Prayer is not always easy and can be a battle- against ourselves and against the devil. (CCC 2725)
The devil is tricky and he sneaks these thoughts into our minds regularly. “I don’t really need to pray,” or “I’ll pray later instead.” This is when you DO need to just show up.
And pray for the desire to pray!
“The Desire to Pray is a gift from God, it is God working in your life, it is God active, moving, and speaking. Our work, if you can call it that, is to open ourselves to a deeper reception of that desire, to focus on it, and to nourish it.”Fr. Lappe, Pastor at Our Lady Star of the Sea in Bremerton
So if you don’t currently have the desire, pray for it. And if you do, thank God for it and ask for help drawing closer to Him in prayer.
There will be times when you feel completely on fire in your faith and prayer comes easily and naturally. But there will also be times of spiritual dryness when you feel far from God or lack the desire to pray.
This is common and NORMAL. Even St. Teresa of Calcutta (aka Mother Teresa) experienced a period which she called “spiritual darkness” which lasted over 50 YEARS! And she’s a Saint, so that goes to show how just showing up to pray really is the key!
This All Sounds Great, And I Want To Keep Showing Up To Pray, But I’m Too Busy/Never Alone
Ok momma, I feel you on this one so hard! Whether you leave for the office every day or stay home, the demands of motherhood are great and the breaks are few and far between.
And I’d be lying if I told you I’ve found the secret sauce to a perfect prayer life.
But here’s the thing- it doesn’t have to be perfect. As a recovering perfectionist, I have learned that perfect really is the enemy of progress, as Winston Churchill pointed out. So don’t worry about having the “perfect” prayer time. Just make sure to give whatever time you can find!
“It is always possible to pray… our time is in the hands of God.”(CCC 2743)
And if you’re in a prayer rut and looking for some creative ways to pray, you’re in luck- I’ve got a whole blog post on that topic coming at you soon so stay tuned! (And be sure to join my email list so you don’t miss this + other exclusive content!)
Just Keep Showing Up To Pray + Free Prayer Tracker
But for today, the biggest thing I want you to focus on is just showing up to pray. Start today, and add prayer to your to-do list so you can check it off! There’s something oh-so-satisfying about checking things off and this will also keep you accountable.
If checking off boxes makes you as happy as it makes me, or if you need an extra boost for some prayer accountability, you can also download my free printable prayer tracker right here!
It can be printed off and used the old fashioned way, with paper and pen, or you can screenshot it on your phone and check days off from there!
Start Prioritizing Prayer Today- It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard!
The main thing is to stop waiting for that perfect, peaceful moment to pray and start using the messy chaotic ones you have all day!
I know, I know- it’s not the same as that alone time with a cup of coffee and your Bible, but it’s better than not praying at all. God just wants to spend some time with you, and He will meet you where you’re at- He’s just waiting for an invitation!
How ever you decide to do it, make the commitment to just keep showing up to pray every day. It doesn’t have to be 100% perfect- just do your best. Persevere in this and God will bless you with abundant graces!
P.S. Don’t forget to grab your FREE Printable Prayer Tracker right here!