You don’t have to stop what you are doing to increase prayer in your life.
However, one simple habit can increase your prayer time during a day, without the need to stop what you are doing.
The technical term for this type of prayer is “aspirations,” brief bursts of prayer said throughout the day.
St. Francis de Sales highly recommends this habit in his Introduction to the Devout Life, explaining how little it interrupts your activities.
Neither is this a difficult practice, — it may be interwoven with all our duties and occupations, without hindering any; for neither the spiritual retreat of which I have spoken, nor these inward upliftings of the heart, cause more than a very brief distraction, which, so far from being any hindrance, will rather
He illustrates the practice by using the following example.
When a pilgrim pauses an instant to take a draught of wine, which refreshes his lips and revives his heart, his onward journey is nowise hindered by the brief delay, but rather it is shortened and lightened, and he brings it all the sooner to a happy end, pausing but to advance the better.
While there are plenty of prayer books that offer short aspirations to memorize, de Sales suggests using what we see as the matter of our prayer. He gives the example of St. Francis of Assisi.
So Saint Francis of Assisi, beholding a hen gathering her chickens beneath her wings, exclaimed, “Keep me, O Lord, under the shadow of Thy Wings.” And looking upon the sunflower, he [aspired], “When, O Lord, will my soul follow the attractions of Thy Love?” And gathering pansies in a garden which are fair to see, but scentless, “Ah,” he cried out, “even so are the thoughts of my heart, fair to behold, but without savor or fruit!”
Thus it is, my child, that good thoughts and holy aspirations may be drawn from all that surrounds us in our ordinary life.
The key is to see God in all things, whether at work, in the home, or while traveling in our car. By doing so, we can frequently raise our minds and hearts to God and so increase our prayer life, without interrupting our daily tasks.
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