A newly ordained priest told the story of preaching at a daily Mass about the absolute necessity of prayer. This is no choice. We must pray. A parishioner approached him and very earnestly protested that her life was too busy and that there was absolutely no way she had time to pray.
Your family doctor tells you that you must eat better or start exercising. Your dentist instructs you to take more time brushing. Your accountant recommends that you spend more time looking after your resources. The lady on the television says that your child’s lunch sandwich should be cut into interesting shapes and kind notes written with the ketchup. You want to spend more time with your family and really, the house is a mess.
And now your priest says that you must pray.
Well . . . yes.
But not all prayer has to be hour long stints (as good as that might be) or on your knees (as helpful as that might be) or in a quiet room (as conducive as that might be) or very formal (as much as that might be an aid.) Rob, steal, and cheat to get some prayers in. Recycle time. Standing in line at the grocery store or at the bank or at the BMV may not be a very conducive place to pray especially now that we have televisions blaring at us, but you can say one Our Father or Hail Mary, or even, “Thank you God for the bounty in my cart.”
When you are in love, it is absolutely great to have the evening or the day to spend with the person of your dreams. But when that is impossible how reassuring – how much it makes your day to receive a text, “Just thinking of you.” “Love you.” “Can’t wait to see you.” Do you think that God would rather have nothing than this little shot arrow of prayer? Of course He wants to hear from you. If you cannot say a rosary, send a hello.
Waiting for the computer to warm up, pouring the coffee, alone in the bathroom or shower, turning off the commercials on the radio while driving, walking through the doorway into a tough (or not tough) meeting, standing at the pump at the gas station, while taking the trash out – any of these are an opportunity to send a text message to God.
Fr. Leonard recently put the series 24 on our Netflix and I tried to watch it. It might be a better series if you don’t watch it all at once. Cracks in the plot start to show through. For example, nobody uses the bathroom, sleeps, eats, or has a moment in their lives in which a major crisis is not happening. I could believe that they possibly do not have time to pray. Possibly. But then again, they are fictional characters. We are real people with a real God.