When he returned to his disciples he found them asleep. He said to Peter, “So you could not keep watch with me for one hour? Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”Matthew 26:40-41
Meeting Jesus on Mission
I was probably in second grade when I first witnessed Christ present in the Eucharist during Adoration. I still gaze at him with childlike awe when I adore him. He’s absolutely radiant in the monstrance.
Although I’ve prayed in Adoration numerous times, I prayed my first holy hour only about a year and a half ago. When I went on a mission trip to Nicaragua, I was blessed to pray a holy hour with my mission team every evening in a beautiful chapel before the blessed sacrament. I was uncomfortable at first because I’ve never sat still to pray for a whole hour before, but during my first holy hour, as I got lost in Jesus gazing at me through the monstrance, I heard a voice in my heart.
“Don’t be afraid to hear my voice,” it said.
At that moment, I allowed myself to be vulnerable with God. I ran to him as his daughter and I let him embrace me. During that mission trip, I spent my holy hours reflecting on the blessings that each day brought. I talked to God, writing little letters to him in my mission trip journal, and I humbly asked him to guide me and make me an instrument of his love.
Holy Hours on Campus
After my mission trip, I did my best to continue praying holy hours. It’s definitely easier when I’m on campus and I can pray in the Newman Center. I’m a little spoiled because I can pray either in the big chapel where we have Mass or in the little Adoration chapel almost any time. Someday I hope to be able to pray a holy hour every day like I did in Nicaragua. For now, I’m growing in holiness by praying a holy hour at least once a week in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
My holy hours won’t look the same as yours, but these are a few tips that have helped me pray my holy hours wholeheartedly.
Tips and Tricks for Your Holy Hours
Come with an intention. Whether your intention is a specific prayer intention, or you plan to pray the rosary or Lectio Divina, come to your holy hour with something specific to do. Sometimes it’s fruitful to sit and be with Jesus, but I find that it’s helpful to have at least one thing to do during a holy hour.
Be vulnerable. If you give God an inch, he will certainly take a mile. Your holy hour is your time to grow in your relationship with God, so don’t be afraid to open up to him like you would open up to a close friend. Share your joys, your fears, your struggles, your tears and you’ll feel God working within you.
Try new things. If your prayer life is becoming stale, don’t be afraid to try something new. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you pray. If a the desire to try a new way to pray is on your heart, it could be the Holy Spirit helping you grow closer to the Father. Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy if you need a break from the rosary. Read a book in the Bible that you aren’t very familiar with. There are so many ways to pray, and a holy hour is a good time to discover them.
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Write. I use a prayer journal from time to time to write down my prayer intentions that I want to remember and return to. It also helps me to write down my prayers as I pray them and re-read them. I highly recommend this as a way of being very intentional about praying (no pun intended).
Just keep praying. If you feel your mind wander during your holy hour, turn back to God. If you don’t feel like praying, tell God how you’re feeling. If you don’t know what to do, enjoy the stillness with God until something comes to you.
Have a beautiful, fruitful holy hour!
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