First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone, for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
With all prayer and supplication, pray at every opportunity in the Spirit. To that end, be watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the holy ones. (Ephesians 6:18)
Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument. (1 Timothy 2:8)
My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9)
In the previous article, I described the call of each of us as Catholic men to be ministers of the Gospel (see Colossians 1:21-23). However, I believe it will be difficult to be faithful to this call if we do not develop a habit of coming into the Lord’s present each day to pray. I once had a priest tell me of a pastor who, every morning when he woke up, looked at his schedule for the day. If it was fairly light, he would then pray for one hour. If it was a very busy and demanding schedule, he then prayed for two hours. I smiled when he said it, but I got his point.
Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection once said that “Prayer to him was simply experiencing the presence of God” (The Practice of the Presence of God). St. Paul considered prayer vital for every Christian. Writing to Timothy, he encouraged his young coworker and all people to offer “prayers, petitions, and thanksgiving” for everyone (1 Timothy 2:1). Not only is prayer “good and pleasing to God,” it also has the power to transform lives (2:3).
God wants all of us to share in his desire that everyone “be saved and come to knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4). And we do that by praying for people on a regular basis. However, being faithful to daily prayer can be a challenge at times. We all have days when we find it easy to pray, days when words of praise and intercession just flow effortlessly. But we also have days when prayer feels like nothing more than a burdensome chore – or we feel too busy, distracted, or harassed to pray.
What do we do on those days? Keep on praying (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)!
It should be comforting to know that we’re not alone in our times of dryness. Every saint has faced this exact same challenge. And we need to do exactly what every saint has done. We need to push through and knowing that Jesus’ “grace is sufficient” (2 Corinthians 12:9). When she felt “incapable” of praying, St. Thèrése of Lisieux said: “I want to keep telling Jesus that I love him. It is not difficult, and it keeps the fire going.” Brother Lawrence had this to say about distractions during times of prayer:
One way of recalling the mind easily during prayer and of keeping it more tranquil is not to let your mind race . . . but to hold it close to the presence of God. Being in the habit of coming back to him . . . you will find it easy to remain peaceful during your prayer time, or at least to bring your mind back from distraction (“The Practice of the Presence of God”).
And from her own well-tested experience, St. Teresa of Avila said these words:
Imagine that the Lord is at your side … stay with so good a Friend for as long as you can . . . If he sees that you love him to be there and are always trying to please him, you will never be able, as we put it, to send him away, nor will he ever fail you. He will help you in all your trials and you will have him everywhere.
She knew that the “only remedy” when we have given up praying regularly is to “begin again.” Persevere in prayer. Have faith. This is truly pleasing to God (1 Timothy 2:3). Plus you will find great rewards in your own life as you spend time with the Lord everyday in prayer! Then you too can echo St. Paul’s words and “Rejoice always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
“Lord Jesus, I desire to come into your presence in prayer every day. I want to be faithful to you not only when my prayer is flowing but also when it’s a labor of love. Holy Spirit, keep the fire of prayer burning brightly in me! I believe your grace is sufficient.”
Many thanks to The Word Among Us for allowing me to adapt meditations in their monthly devotional magazine. Used with permission.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion by Catholic Men
- Take some time to meditate and reflect on the Scriptures at the beginning of the article. What do you think God is trying to reveal to you through them?
- Why do you think the pastor mentioned in the article felt he had to pray two hours, instead of one, when he knew he knew his schedule for the day would be “very busy and demanding?”
- How would you describe the obstacles that make it difficult for you to pray every day? What steps can you take to overcome these them?
- If you do not pray everyday are you willing to commit to trying to pray every day for 10-15 minutes? If not, why not?
- If you do pray every day, what are some of the fruits that have come from it? Do you have a routine you use every day? How would you describe it?
- Take some time now to pray and ask the Lord for the grace to do whatever it takes to persevere in prayer every day. Use the prayer at the end of the article as the starting point.