When I was really little, Mom taught me how to pray. Before I went to bed each night, we sat in my bedroom to pray an Our Father and a Hail Mary. She taught me how to tell God what I’m thankful for, and how to pray for others. With our nightly prayers, my mom instilled in me the importance of praying every day.
In college, I was reminded of the importance of praying every day, and I gained a deeper understanding of how to pray. I learned from the example of the upperclassmen and the FOCUS missionaries to go to daily Mass, pray in the Adoration chapel, and pray the Rosary often. The Newman Center was where I cultivated some of my prayer habits.
As much as I love God and understand the importance of daily prayer, it’s difficult to pray every day. While I’ve been learning about my faith and forming prayer habits for most of my life, I began to settle into praying every day a month or so ago. These were the tips (or “secrets”) that helped me to make prayer a daily habit. Hopefully some of them will help you to pray every day too!
1 Have a designated time to pray
We’re more apt to pray when we make it part of our routine. If you establish 9:30 AM as your time to pray, then you’ll get used to praying at that time. When we value our relationship with someone, we make time to be with that person. Having a designated time for prayer is essentially scheduling a time to be with God. He always shows up for us, so we should hold up our end by keeping our prayer time reserved for Him.
2 Have a specific space where you pray
Having a space to pray will enforce the fact that you go to this specific place to pray. For some of you, that might be a chapel or an oratory. If you can’t leave your house and go somewhere sacred to pray, that’s okay. You can make a home altar or rearrange a corner of a room to make a designated prayer space. This space should have your prayer materials, like a Rosary, your Bible, and some prayer cards, somewhere to sit or kneel, and some sacred art to help you get in the right headspace for prayer. You can also add plants, candles, and holy water.
3 Have someone or something something to pray for
While it’s good to simply sit and be present with God, when we’re learning to pray every day, it helps to come to prayer with specific prayer intentions. Having a “why” behind your time in prayer will prompt you to pray. Remember that we don’t always see the fruits of our prayers in this life, but this shouldn’t deter us from praying. Praying for someone or something increases our trust in God by putting our intentions in His hands and letting His will be done.
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4 Pray what you love to pray
If you’re really into the Psalms lately, pray with the Psalms. If you love to pray the Rosary and have a special devotion to it, keep praying the Rosary. If you just learned about Lectio Divina and you want to keep trying it, keep doing it. No matter how you fill your time in prayer, make sure you pray in ways that fill you up and bring you closer to God
One of the biggest hurdles to praying every day is actually showing up to prayer. If I only prayed when I felt very inclined to pray, I would never pray. We can’t wait until the perfect time or when we feel like praying. Keeping our time in prayer and going to our space to pray really is half the battle. It shows God that we’re choosing Him over all the other things that we could be doing.
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