Saturday, April 23, 2016

Finding Balance

Ever try to find time to pray and although you have the best intentions, you end up either not praying at all or having to squeeze in ten or so Hail Mary's and an Our Father before collapsing under the weight of exhaustion after a long day?

We all know by now that quiet time with the self, communion with God and a little bit of silence in the midst of a very busy day is a remedy for many modern ailments.  The trick is, how do we 'make the time' to do this?

I was inspired to make some changes by people I knew who spent time every morning in Meditation. I wasn't going to Meditate in the way a Buddhist would, but I saw the benefits this quiet time had on their lives.  I set up my own meditation times by deciding to pray more deliberately.  I wasn't going to 'empty my mind', instead I was going to fill it with Christ by saying a Rosary, going through a Chaplet etc.

I struggled to make time and even set up a prayer schedule with the intent of praying at specific times during the day, no matter what.  My main goal was to say the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 pm and ask for God's mercy because, selfishly, I knew that I needed it. 

Well, it worked out a couple of times and then I quickly realized that young children and specific prayers at specific times didn't mix very well.  Apart from saying a prayer before meals, the other 'times' that I had set up didn't work well because some one or something always drew me away with legitimate requests.  I tried breaking up the times into short bursts of ten or so minutes instead of my 30 minute prayer time.  Even mornings became difficult as my nights weren't always restful and therefore my mornings weren't always as planned.  The children would wake up a different times depending on weather and school schedules.  Throw in Daylight Savings time and changing the time back again and I had a real problem.  Fast forward several months of frustrating and mostly failed attempts.

I realized, finally (I'm stubborn sometimes), that my plans didn't work...

I felt the dryness of my prayers when I did manage them because I was disappointed with myself and frustrated with my family for taking me away from what I wanted to be doing.  Then I realized the absurdity of this and I let go.

I let go of expectations from my prayer time.  I let go of specific prayer times all together.  I let go of boxes and schedules and I looked at the time I already had.

I began by appreciating the time that I had and I tried to use it more wisely.

I began to say Novena prayers before reading my other emails (I have the prayers sent to me via a website called Pray More Novenas).  I also started praying while doing my daily tasks.

Hail Mary's while putting away the kids' winter hats.  The Jesus Prayer while washing dishes.  Quick exclamations and calls for help to my favourite saints when my patience is wearing thin.

In short, I kept it simple and I've been feeling the benefits of this more realistic prayer 'schedule' ever since.  

Do I still want to sit quietly with the Bible and read?  Say an entire Rosary without falling asleep? Say a Litany or two in the morning?  Yes!!   These are all goals, but I'm working toward them and I'm not putting pressure on myself now because I just can't seem to do it.  I do what I can and I guess that's what I needed to learn. God doesn't ask for more than we can do.  He asks us to do what we can do without comparing ourselves to others.

How's your prayer life?  What are your struggles?

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