There’s no doubt that the pace of our culture continues to get busier and faster. Our days are more cramped with appointments, commitments, and to-do lists. I watch as my own family and families around me seem to leave home earlier in the morning and return later in the evening as we attempt to make more time to accomplish all that we need to do.
How can daily prayer time find its place within this reality?
We each have within us a gift to help: an inner chapel, a space within us where God resides. This means that at any point in our day we have a sacred space where we can pause for prayer. If we apply St. Ignatius’s wisdom of preparing the night before for the next day’s prayer, we can intentionally come to this space within the busyness of our lives—even when we are on the go.
Taking with us our desire to grow in our relationship with God and the gift of our inner chapel, our time for prayer can occur in the moments of pause, travel, and waiting that are part of our weekly schedules. Let me give you a few examples.
There was a season of my life when there was a gap of about 30 minutes between my youngest child’s carpool line and my other children’s carpool line. I found myself having 20–30 minutes of waiting and stillness as my youngest fell asleep during the commute and wait for my older two. I realized there was built-in daily prayer time. I began to prepare for this prayer time by keeping in my car my journal, a Bible, and other prayer materials. Each day, I would turn the radio off and go to my inner chapel in that carpool line with my youngest napping in her car seat.
I’ve also watched my spiritual directees incorporate prayer into their daily, on-the-go lives.
- A mother of three found her time to go to her inner chapel as she waited during her preschool daughter’s dance class. She brought her journal with her, and this time became a sacred time of reviewing her week of prayer.
- A father of a middle-school-aged son used his son’s multiple baseball practices each week as a time to pray the Examen using the Reimagining the Examen app as a guide.
- A working professional used her time driving to work to listen to a daily reflection on the Gospel using the Pray as You Go app.
- A school teacher would begin her break by going to her inner chapel and reading the daily Scripture reflection via Sacred Space.
These are just a handful of examples of how I witness people tap into sacred space and the gift of the chapel that moves with us even when life is busy.
What about you? How have you learned to incorporate prayer into your life on-the-go?
When everybody has left the house in the morning, that’s when I switch on to my “inner chapel.” The Examen has appealed to me in my relationship with God. I see Him in my husband patiently teaching our kids how to drive, I hear Him in the noisy blast of the siren, and I feel Him in the early morning breeze as we do our brisk walking.
Recalling when you see God in the people, places and events of the day was a bit hard at 1st but doing it daily makes it easier and hopefully deeper.
My “inner chapel” is not only confined in the four corners of my room. It could be anywhere when the Holy Spirit tags you at the heart and say, “Talk to me. I am here.’
The emergency room was my chapel last week after falling & breaking my wrist. God’s grace came to me as I sat in a wheelchair in the hallway, beginning to pray for the people around me. Please Lord, comfort the child crying “I want to go home.” Me too. The man with a prothesis as the lower half of his leg. The young woman crying quietly, endlessly. Their pain & fear combined with mine as I prayed to get through this, begging God to comfort our troubled souls. Grace continued to pour down & cover us. A strange, unlikely chapel.
I use “Pray as you go” in Polish for over a year now, on my way to work. I also use “Evangelizo” app, which is available in many languages. It has comments to daily Gospel and some prayers. Other app that I also like for daily Gospel meditation is “Magnificat”. One or the other, the app allows me to get closer to the daily Gospel in the morning and then come back to it by meditating during other times of the day. Taking a short break, walking or even waiting for a bus, can be a good time for meditation – my Lectio Divina on the go..
I love the idea of an inner chapel. I did not know of the Pray as you Go app. Have just installed it and I am sure this will help expand and deepen my faith. Thanks again Becky!
I commute by bike so my mobile chapel is the outdoors. I often use the Divine Office app to pray the LOTH. It’s a great experience with the psalms and references to God’s creation.
I was so amazed at the various times I could go into my inner chapel and pray. I am going to make a deliberate effort to pray every day and not make excuses.
Prayer said in the mornings; taught as a child: “Dear Jesus, through the most pure heart of Mary,I offer You all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings of this day for all the intentions of Thy Divine Heart.I now ask at times be go a bit light on the sufferings and a bit more of the joy!!
I also say little prayers or perhaps have conversations with Jesus, through the day; depending how things are going . A.M.D.G.
Oh my goodness! I thought I was the only one who prayed in my car all the time. I’ve never heard anyone else mention it and I kind of felt guilty about the car being one of my main places for prayer. It started 39 years ago when we were on a waiting list to adopt a baby and I would pray during my commute to and from work for a baby to come home to us. So nice to learn I’m in such good company! And yes, prayers answered…we have two children. I’ve continued my car prayers ever since then.
I enjoy going to my inner chapel while I’m driving or walking I use Rezando Voy app (Pray as you go in spanish). I pause for a moment to take a deep breath and let me go.
My car for sure. Singing, prayer, lamentation, praise. Too much activity going on in my home.
Yes! Years ago I read a book called My Monastery is a Minivan, by Denise Roy. I really related to her as a driver of carpools at the time.
Thank you, Becky, for reminding us to grab these “wasted” waiting minutes to be with God.
Hugs to all moms out there!
My car is my chapel. My favorite place to cry on, shout and talk to God. All my secrets my car knows…. This moving chapei where God listens 24/7 allowed me to have a peaceful break from work and personal issues.