Try not to rush through your prayer or meditation and you will notice an amazing difference.
In our fast-paced society, it is easy to rush through our daily prayers and meditation. We say we are “too busy” to spend much time on our spiritual lives, and so we simply try to check it off our list and get it done as fast as we can.
However, praying too quickly can be harmful, as we end up not knowing what we are saying and not really having any meaning behind it. In other words, it becomes the “babble” that Jesus condemns when teaching his disciples how to pray (see Matthew 6:7).
The key to more thoughtful and meaningful prayer is to take it slow and allot enough time to interiorize our actions.
Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance writes in My Prayer Book, “It is also useful, in using the prayers of our prayerbook, to read them slowly and deliberately, making in the meantime practical reflections on their contents, or pausing from time to time to meditate a little and apply the words of the prayers to our own wants.”
We must not be concerned about “finishing” our prayers as much as praying with heartfelt devotion.
As the Psalmist writes, “My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn” (Psalm 51:9).
Similarly, 19th-century writer John Sergieff wrote, “Pray slowly till an echo comes back into your heart from every word of your prayers. Yes. It is an absolute rule. Pray slowly, and with power on every word. Pronounce each successive word from the heart. Keep to the rule that it is better to say five words from the bottom of your heart, than ten thousand words from your tongue only.”
It won’t take long for you to experience the benefits of this practice. After overcoming any impatience you might have, you will look forward to prayer and appreciate the time you have in slow, deliberate meditation.
The next time you pray or meditate, do so slowly, focusing on what you are doing and offering it to God. Peace will reign in your heart and you will have a “mini-retreat” each day from the busyness of the world.