Prayer is hard. Being truly open and connected to another person here on earth is hard enough, but opening ourselves up to the Creator of the Universe is even harder. It is, however, super important. When we open ourselves up to the Lord, we connect ourselves to the font of creativity that made the universe. Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to claim that a great many psychological disorders could be solved through confession and prayer. That is how powerful this is.
In this episode, I give you 6 practical steps to take your prayer life to the next level. It is difficult to go directly from “casual catholic” to “Mother Teresa” level. To help make some progress, I’ve broken out 6 steps. I think you’ll find some help.
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Prayer part 1: 6 steps to improve your own prayer
The great people of the earth today are the people who pray, (not) those who talk about prayer. — S.D.Gordon
- Self Assessment
- Would Jesus say that I am a friend?
- Do I spend time with Jesus the same as I would with a best friend?
- Love is a choice, am I choosing to love God?
- What is the state of my mind during prayer really?
- C S Lewis: “We must lay before him what is in us; not what ought to be in us.”
- Speck of dust example.
- Set a routine
- C S Lewis: “A concentrated mind and a sitting body make for better prayer than a kneeling body and a mind half asleep.”
- Prayer in the morning is mandatory. 30 min. Is a good goal. 60 min is a better one
- Prayer before bed is mandatory
- If your day is hemmed in with prayer, it is less likely to come unraveled. — Cynthia Lewis
- There is no reason not to pray before each meal
- Starting with prayer makes your day more effecient
- Work, work, from morning until late at night. In fact, I have so much to do that I shall have to spend the first three hours in prayer. — Martin Luther
- Include reading plan
- No Bible No Breakfast…
- Read the Bible, start with gospels
- This is the living Word of God. You will be challenged.
- Be ready to pause when God tells you to stop and think about what He just said.
- Time to Listen
- Prayer is not monologue, but dialogue; God’s voice is its most essential part. Listening to God’s voice is the secret of the assurance that He will listen to mine. — Andrew Murray
- In all relationships, we have to listen. 2 ears 1 mouth.
- Ask Our Lord “What is one thing I can do today to be a better Christian?” Just show me
- Do not be anxious during this time. Anxiety comes from the devil.
- Rest with your head on Jesus’s chest. Listen to Him speak.
- Others feel and respond to your peace or to your anxiety. Carry this moment of peace into your day. It needs to be more than just during prayer time.
- Pray outside the routine
- Before every challenge, look upwards and simply offer the challenge to Our Lord.
- When good things happen, pause to give Him thanks (not that you need to make a scene like football player)
- Pray always, sometimes use words.
- Each and every action can become a prayer, a testimony to God as our Creator.
- Life is either lived for ourselves (most people) or for others. Most notably for God. The latter is much happier. Look at all the saints, look at Mr. Theresa. Is there any doubt who they lived for?
- Enlist a guide
- We all need help!
- Choose a patron saint (at least for a year). Pray to that saint regularly, and get to know them. They will help you!
- Go to confession regularly. Sins that are repeatedly confessed are good sins to bring up with a spiritual director. (note, if your confessor is both, you have ot say it again!)
- Look for a spiritual director. They can provide guidance in prayer.
- Your spouse, when approached with humility, can offer you incredible insights into your weaknesses and shortcomings. You have to empower them to do so.
Work as if you were to live a hundred years, pray as if you were to die tomorrow. — Benjamin Franklin