Too busy to pray? Here are five easy ways to build a little prayer into the day.
- Try a “mini Examen” just before lunch, dinner, or going to sleep. Pause to thank God for good gifts from the day, and notice where God was present. Gratitude is at the heart of prayer. (And the full Examen doesn’t take that long, either!)
- Slow down and take a walk. On the way to an appointment? Instead of rushing, slow down and pay attention to the gifts of trees, sky, people, and all that is around you. For short distances, consider walking instead of driving. Where is God meeting you on the way? Where I work, there are many beautiful trees, whose changes I like to contemplate as the seasons change and light plays off their leaves and branches differently from day to day.
- Wake up ten minutes earlier. Sit with God in silence before the day begins. Silence helps us to hear God more clearly, but the silence itself also “speaks” to our hearts in communication beyond words.
- Just breathe. Although there are wonderful techniques of centering prayer, try this simple version: Breathe in and imagine breathing in God’s love and care. Breathe out and offer your own love back to God. Try it for five minutes, or longer.
- Listen. God is present in our relationships with others. So often we can be focused on what we want to say, but simply listening more attentively to others can bring God into view. Where is God present in the thoughts, hopes, or desires of the person sitting across from me?
I need a lengthy time of silence for prayer before I begin my day. Without it, I am not myself. But this was not always possible when I was the mother of young children, for example. Even now when there is more time, these little prayer breaks help me to stay in touch with the living God as I move through the day. Whether we have much or little time for prayer, God is always inviting us to relationship in the ordinary and every day.