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Effective prayers that take less than a second

MAN PRAYING
©George Martell The Pilot Media Group | CC
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We've got to be convinced that God is always near us. We live as though he were far away, and we forget that he is also continually by our side.

While it is essential to set aside time each day dedicated specifically to prayer, it is also important to guard against pigeonholing your spiritual life into that 15- or 20-minute slot. We have to make sure we don’t have a “checklist” attitude of okay, I’ve done my prayer thing, so now I get on with “real” life.

Just as our relationships with each other need more than 15-minute slots, so too our relationship with God needs spontaneous “hello”s and “how are you doing”s and “I love you”s.

St. Josemaria Escriva said it this way:

We’ve got to be convinced that God is always near us. We live as though he were far away, in the heavens high above, and we forget that he is also continually by our side.

He is there like a loving Father. He loves each one of us more than all the mothers in the world can love their children — helping us, inspiring us, blessing … and forgiving.

When we have a living faith in God’s presence, it’s natural to turn to him or his mother with little thoughts and phrases, which take less than a second to mentally pray. Just as young lovers are always on each other’s minds and texting and calling throughout the day, these aspirations do much to keep our love alive, or rekindle it if it’s grown cold.

Here are some ideas for little “text messages” you might raise to God throughout the day:

  1. Jesus, I trust in you. (from St. Faustina)
  2. O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. (from the Miraculous Medal)
  3. Jesus, remember me. (from the prayer of the “good thief” on the cross)
  4. God will provide. (what Abraham told Isaac when he asked what animal they would sacrifice)
  5. Allow me to praise Thee, O Holy Virgin; give me strength against Thine enemies. (from Blessed Duns Scotus)
  6. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, my family is yours. Guard them in your heart.
  7. My Jesus, thank you.
  8. Jesus in the Holy Sacrament of the altar, I give you my heart.
  9. Jesus, you are mine and I am yours.
  10. I shall wait for my Lord and Savior.
  11. Lord, to you I lift up my heart.

One way to go deeper in the liturgy is to use a phrase from the Collect or one of the other prayers of the Mass as an aspiration for the week. Many of the antiphons of the Liturgy of the Hours also will serve as beautiful aspirations.

But the important thing is not to merely follow some sort of formula, as that again brings the danger of falling into a “checklist” spirituality. Allow the aspirations to come from your heart, as short and sweet as you want.

Again, St. Josemaria said:

Get used to lifting your heart to God, in acts of thanksgiving, many times a day. Because he gives you this and that. Because you have been despised. Because you haven’t what you need or because you have. Because he made his Mother so beautiful, his Mother who is also your Mother. Because he created the sun and the moon and this animal and that plant. Because he made that man eloquent and you he left tongue-tied …

Thank him for everything, because everything is good. The Way, 268

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5 Ways to Jump-Start Your Prayer Life

How 15 Minutes of Prayer Can Change Your Life

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