Why do so few people truly pray? Why do we pray in bad times, but not the good times? Why do people struggle in establishing a prayer routine?
Growing up Catholic, I’ve gone to Mass every Sunday for as long as I can remember. Now approaching the age of 60, I’ve been on a serious faith journey for 15 years. With strong intent, I’ve struggled with prayer. We all struggle with prayer. But why? I think there are 3 primary reasons:
- We live incredibly busy lives; we just don’t fit it in
- It’s challenging to do, especially in quieting our minds and being still
- We’re not convinced it works (or does anything for us), so we don’t give priority to it
I heard long ago that if you want to know what’s important to people, look at how they spend their time and money. It’s interesting to me the discipline I show in other areas of my life. As an example, I’m an exercise enthusiast. I never miss a workout, doing so 6 days a week (I take Fridays off by design).
My wife and I eat a very healthy, disciplined diet. Did I say very? Believe me, it’s “very”. I’m in disbelief as to the number of foods I have a sensitivity to and can’t eat. It takes incredible discipline on both our parts. We do it because it’s important to us.
I’ve always been very disciplined when it come to my work life. I literally think I was knee-high when I first heard my Dad say, “plan your work and work your plan”. I’ve been heeding that advice ever since. I’ve always had a plan, organizationally and individually. I’ve historically worked with others in accomplishing the institution’s plans, in addition to their own, plus mine on a weekly and daily basis. Requiring discipline, there’s also a sense of accomplishment.
Here’s the good news. Although I don’t have it completely figured out (my sense is that very few truly do), I’ve made significant progress over the last year. I consider it one of my few gifts of COVID. So, let’s address each of the 3 impediments I identify above.
First, our busy lives. The pace that most live is ridiculous. It’s exhausting. And for what? What are we doing? What are we really accomplishing? I like to say, “my life used to be all about the pace; now it’s about the peace”. In slowing down, in learning to say “no” (which can only come from having a stronger “yes”), life is more enjoyable. You might not see how you can do that right now, but please start thinking about it…pray about it (no pun intended).
Second, it’s difficult to quiet our minds. It sure is. Part of the reason is because we’re so busy. Another reason is that one of Satan’s primary strategies is distraction. Yet another reason is that it takes discipline, not unlike diet, exercise, and work. And just like those things, for us to get good, it takes practice.
Lastly, and I think the major reason so many are challenged to spend time in prayer is that they aren’t convinced that it works. I’m here to tell you (charitably), you’re wrong. It does work. In last week’s blog, I laid out a prayer process that works incredibly well. As part of my upcoming course, we talk about prayer and its merits. We even have a “bonus” giveaway on prayer. Pst, don’t tell anyone but if you email now, I’ll send it to you now.
Regarding the three impediments I list above, prayer helps us to overcome each. Spending time in prayer will help slow your mind. You’ll find peace in the quiet. It will uncover for you where your priorities should be, what your greater “yes” is and what you need to say “no” to. Lastly, as referenced in last week’s blog, it will help you in making the right decisions. It works. It really does.
Resource: Matthew Kelly, one of my favorite authors and speakers, does a great job on prayer. It’s the subject of his “Best Lent Ever” program, which you can access at https://www.dynamiccatholic.com/lent/best-lent-ever.html.
As always, please contact me at Mark@MarkJosephMinistries.com with comments, questions, concerns, challenges, or prayer requests.
God Bless you on your Path to Peace, Joy, and Fulfillment!!!
Remember…God made you for GREATNESS!!!