As part of our message series for the New Year about how to make simple spiritual changes that will improve everyday life, we decided to ask and write about techniques our own staff and close friends use to grow closer to God. Here’s one such article with practical advice about how to pray unceasingly.
As Catholics, we are called to have a deep, personal relationship with God. Much of this relationship, while guided and strengthened through weekly Mass attendance and other specific faith experiences, also must be cultivated through private prayer. Prayer is a personal conversation for us each to have with God, taking place in our own time and space. Ironically, because of the flexible nature of prayer, it can be hard to prioritize in our busy, daily lives.
Moreover, Saint Paul’s advice in his first letter to the Thessalonians seems to make matters even worse. “Pray without ceasing,” he writes (5:17), a command that comes with other exhortations like kindness, patience, and encouragement. While the latter requests seem fairly straightforward, the former is more difficult. Indeed, to pray without ceasing is a very tall order and may even seem unrealistic.
But Paul wasn’t asking people to spend every waking moment on their knees, eyes closed and hands folded. Rather, he was asking them to live with an attitude conscious of the will and workings of God, knowing that God has an almighty hand in every corner of their existence. Indeed, prayer at designated times and through designated avenues is essential, but it’s not the only way for us to turn our hearts to God.
Enter a spiritual life hack to make unceasing prayer more of a possibility. Parish manager Lisa Rosenlund reflected on how her morning-times, both at home and at work, are hectic, full of tasks to be completed and all kinds of things jostling for her attention. “My commute, though, is my quiet time,” she said, “I am not a person who can multitask while driving, simultaneously putting on makeup, eating breakfast or texting.”
So most days, she spends the time driving in from Marin County simply talking to God in a personal conversation. “I used to listen to the iBreviary or spiritual music on my commute, and sometimes still do, but I mainly spend that time in conversation with God.”
Rosenlund’s use of her commute time to have those prayerful exchanges with God is a perfect example of praying unceasingly by using small pockets of time to pray that we would otherwise use for something else. Cooking dinner, commuting, folding laundry, riding on an elevator, and even cleaning the house are also great times to pray.
While the head-bowed image might be the first to come to our minds when we think of prayer, it doesn’t mean that praying while doing something else is any less of a prayer. It gives us an intentional time and space to dedicate all of our time and all of ourselves to God, deepening our connection with Him in its own unique way.
--Claire Kosewic, Staff Bulletin Writer
Saint Brendan Church in San Francisco. Check out our exciting featured news articles.