File:Jean-François Millet (II) 001.jpg

The Angelus by Millet (Wikimedia Commons). In past centuries, Church bells rang three times day to signal everyone should stop what they were doing and pray.

 

St. Paul urges us to “pray constantly” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But what does this mean? How can we practice it? When we reach a high state of the spiritual life, we will be in constant communion with God (see, I am assuming we are all going to make it that far). But in the meantime, we can form habits that help us pray throughout the day.

When two people fall in love, they want to spend as much time together as they can. Not only do they go out on a date very evening, they also contact each other during the day. When I was younger, we would call each other or send emails. Today, couples might text each other. Just to hear the other person’s voice or read his words of love would keep the smile on the loved-one’s face for hours.

We need the same kind of contact with God. Our “date” with God is our daily time set aside for nothing but prayer.  But we should also talk to God throughout the day. At first, this might be difficult. It might even seem strange until we have formed the habit. We should remember that our little ways of connecting with God are acts of love.

Choose a prayer to repeat throughout the day

One practice that works well for me is choosing a short prayer that I can say at specific times in my day. As my regular readers know, my prayer this year has been, “Jesus, I trust in you.” At other times in my life, I have prayed, “I am the handmaid of the Lord, let it be done unto me in accordance with your word.” The kids and I try to say, “My heart is ready, Oh God, me heart is ready,” throughout our school day. (I wrote a post on our domestic monastery bell here.)

The Church attaches indulgences to many short prayers. You can gain extra graces by choosing one of these as your prayer. A few examples are:

  • Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
  • Blessed be God!
  • Thy will be done!
  • Mother of Sorrows, pray for us.
  • O Lord, increase our faith.

All these prayers are simple. They take only about a second to say. But they can remind you to think of God and “fan into flame” your love for Him. (You can see more indulgenced prayers here.)

Choose a reminder to pray

I used to say a prayer every time I looked at a clock or watch. For homeschool, we pray every time we transition to a new subject. Readers have told me they pray every time their watch chimes the hour. You might pray every time you check your email, every time the baby cries, or every time you begin a new task at work.

Currently, I pray every time something happens that I don’t like. You might be surprised how many times that is in a day! By using these moments as a trigger for prayer, I turn annoyances and disappointments into an opportunity to grow closer to Christ. Instead of being filled with anger and frustration, my day is filled with grace and hope.

It’s important to choose a trigger to pray. Otherwise, it’s easy to have good intentions, but forget to carry them out. I find that the more concrete and specific a resolution is, the more likely I am to fulfill it.

We can train ourselves to pray throughout the day, keeping in contact with God no matter what other activities we are involved in. When we do this, we make our whole day a prayer.

Connie Rossini

Share with us: What prayers do you say throughout the day? What is your trigger for praying?

Written by Connie Rossini
Hi, I'm a Catholic writer and homeschool mother of four boys. I practice Carmelite spirituality. Check out my Books page for publications to help your whole family grow in holiness.

    8 Comments

  1. Lydia December 10, 2013 at 8:56 am

    Thanks for this. I have an alarm (the sound of a harp) that goes off at noon and I pray 3 Hail Mary’s, which was recommended to me by a holy priest. I have a real problem with disciplining myself to pray when I get up etc. This is easy enough for me to do and a good start to trying to incorporate more prayer in my life.

    • Connie Rossini December 10, 2013 at 10:04 am

      You’re welcome, Lydia. It’s hard to form new habits, whether we’re talking about eating right, spending less time watching TV, or having a prayer time. That’s why the trigger is so important. A little reminder never hurts.

  2. Susan December 10, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    Boy, if I prayed every time something I didn’t like happened I’d be praying all day! I guess that’s the point! That is a wonderful trigger; as you said, instead of just complaining to yourself, talk to God and turn a negative into a positive.

    If I see someone twice within a few minutes, i.e. I pass him or her in the hall at work and then a few minutes later I see him again, I use that as a trigger to pray for that person.

    Susan

    • Connie Rossini December 10, 2013 at 4:17 pm

      Susan, I’ve never heard of that one before. Great idea, to pray for people you see twice in a row. And yes, I pray a lot these days!

  3. Nancy December 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    I love this. Very practical! LOVE the idea of a specific date time, with additional times of contact throughout the day. It’s definitely like my months of dating my husband. I’d like to link to this in a future cloistered heart post, if you don’t mind – ? I’d also like to include a link to your monastic bell post sometime in the new year…?

    • Connie Rossini December 10, 2013 at 4:20 pm

      Nancy, feel free to link to my posts any time you like, and I’ll take the liberty of doing the same with yours. If you want to do more than link, just let me know ahead of time. I’d be honored to be connected with the Cloistered Heart. Good to hear from you on the blog again, and not just on Facebook!

  4. Nancy H C Ward December 11, 2013 at 8:59 am

    Connie, I love the point you make about praying when something disturbs us. Some days that’s almost praying constantly when we get in a negative emotional spiral. This will help me stay centered on the Lord, our peace.

    • Connie Rossini December 11, 2013 at 10:55 am

      Nancy, yes, I know all about negative spirals. It’s about time we started some positive spirals, huh?