In his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul instructs all of us to pray without ceasing. The Church, as a whole, achieves this goal through various means including daily Holy Masses and the Liturgy of the Hours. While it is comforting to know that each of our prayers contributes to this effort through the Mystical Body of Christ, how may we, as individuals, pray continually?
As is so often the case, I defer to the wisdom of the Saints. First things first: What is prayer?
The definition that strikes closest to my heart comes from Saint Therese of Lisieux who stated,
“For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.”
As alluded to here and pontificated within the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the true source of prayer is one’s heart because it
“….is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place ‘to which I withdraw’. The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter because as the image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant.” – CCC 2563
With that in mind, St. Frances de Sales offers a practical way we can continually turn our hearts to Him in prayer. It is simple three-step process that can be used at any given moment of the day.
Ask God to be present to you
- Because God is omnipresent, He is always present to us; however, we simply do not notice. In actuality, this is a conscious choice to open one’s heart to Him.
“Lift up your heads, O gates;be lifted, you ancient portals, that the king of glory may enter.” – Psalm 24:7
- This simple action is an opportunity to make every moment a Sacrament
- This is a heroic moment–to have courage enough to place yourself in the hands of the Living God (Hebrews 10:31)
Offer the moment to God
- Be it great and joyous or sad and difficult, give it to Him
“Cast all your worries upon him because he cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7
- Keep in mind this includes the simplest everyday occurrences.
- This offering makes every moment a sacrifice to the one True God.
Accept the outcome as His will
- Have courage enough to surrender your heart to our loving Father and understand that
“There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every affair under the heavens.” – Ecclesiastes 3:1
- We may not always like the outcome; however, keep in mind Romans 8:28
“We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”
The most difficult thing about this exercise is remembering to do it. The enemy fills our heads and hearts with so much daily distraction. I challenge each of us to take each distraction as an opportunity to make a choice that will lead us closer to Christ Jesus as we strive to pray without ceasing.
God love you and may the work we perform today bear fruit in Eternity.
“I urge you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, your spiritual worship. Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect.”