Life gets busy doesn’t it? I mean, it gets REAL busy! In the middle of all the hustle and bustle of life, I found a simple way to drastically change my prayer life taken directly from the life of a saint. However, before you dive into this let me warn you it involves your cell phone and a little pain.
If your life is like mine, your cell phone is the center of your day. I mean, honestly, how long do you go without looking at it, checking messages, or being on the phone? If you ever wonder how much you actually depend on your cell phone then just lose it for 10 minutes and see how panicked you get. But, could it actually improve your prayer life? I want to say emphatically YES and it put my entire mindset and worldview into check.
As I was reading my new books I had picked up at a conference on St. Clare (Clare and her sisters: lovers of the poor Christ by Madeline Pecora Nugent, SFO) I came across a section in the front talking about the canonical hours. It basically provided a timeline for the daily prayer times of St. Clare and her sisters. It gave an entire new meaning to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:16). So, here’s my “simple” way my cell phone changed my prayer life. I took the hours the sisters prayed and plugged them into my calendar. I set my phone to alert me at each canonical hour and listed which prayers it was. I soon realized that my focus was not on the Lord during the day, it was on everything but God. When I thought I was doing “okay” in my prayer life, I realized mine was pathetic compared to the saints and the way God wants us to be every day.
I could not just stop about every two or three hours at work and go pray. You probably do not have that luxury either. But, as I prayed about feeling that I never seemed to have time to pray, I felt God just tell me to start off simple. I started with saying a “Hail Mary” every time my alert came up and if I was at work or somewhere that prevented me from actually spending some time in prayer. I would sometimes alternate it with a “Glory Be”.
As morning arrived and I savored my morning coffee, a quick glance to my phone showed the sisters would have prayed two to three times while I was asleep. Let me give you the hours and take a look for yourself: (taken from the book)
- Matins (vigils): First prayer of the night said around midnight.
- Lauds: prayer said at dawn
- Prime: prayer said at 6 a.m.
- Terce: prayer said at 9 a.m.
- Sext: prayer said at noon
- None: prayer said at 3 p.m.
- Vespers: prayer said between 3-6 p.m.
- Compline: last prayer of the day said before retiring for the night
I initially thought saying 8 prayers a day was a little “extreme” and soon realized I was not on my way to being a saint. It seemed like an impossible task but I remembered the words of Luke 1:37 of “for with God nothing is impossible”. Starting with a “Glory Be” or “Hail Mary”, I have now seen how it actually refocuses my attention throughout the day and my spirit is more sensitive to the Lord.
Do you want more of God in your life? Do you feel like God is not present throughout the day with you? Do you know something is missing within your daily walk with him?
CHALLENGE: Take your cell phone and set the hours of prayer as outlined in the lives of St. Clare and her sisters. Make a commitment that you will pray during at least three of those for the first day or two, then work on increasing that to more of them throughout your daily life.
Extreme? Perhaps. But, was Jesus not extreme in His love for us?