Focus on quality of prayer, rather than the number of minutes prayed every day.
It’s easy to say that we are going to pray every day. Then “life happens” and we find ourselves back to our old routines.
What can we do to be more faithful to our prayer lives?
French Trappist monk Dom Jean-Baptiste Chautard wrote in his popular book, The Soul of the Apostolate, several keys that can help a person remain committed to daily prayer. One of those keys is to make a firm resolution to pray in the midst of your work.
I shall determine very precisely and firmly upon a certain moment in my work when I shall attempt, even while carrying on busily the work willed by God, to live as perfect an interior life as I can, to practice self-custody, that is, to be in Your presence, dear Lord, and at the same time keep an eye on myself, always having recourse to You, acting just as if I had made the vow always to do what is most perfect.
This simply means pausing, even for a few seconds, during your work and allowing God’s presence to fill your soul.
Another way to make prayer a habit is to commit to five minutes of prayer and focus on the quality of it.
I shall begin by [praying] for five minutes, or even less, morning and evening, and shall concern myself much more with making it perfect than with making it long.
The reason we should focus on quality, rather than quantity, is that by doing a small thing well, we will begin to desire more.
I am going to aim at quality rather than extent. My thirst to take more than just a few minutes at this practice will grow stronger in proportion as I see more correctly what I am and what You expect of me, Dear Lord. And thus gradually getting familiar with this salutary exercise I shall contract a real need for it, and it will become a habit, and then You will make known to my soul, thus purified, the secrets of the life of union with You.
Often one of the reasons we don’t pray on a daily basis is because we think we don’t benefit from it. Chautard believes that if we focus on quality and basking in God’s presence, we will crave it and have a greater desire for it.
In the end, the best way we can create a habit of prayer is to want it. Once we do, everything else becomes much easier.