Early in November, Pope Francis announced that the year 2024, in preparation for the Jubilee 2025, would be dedicated to prayer for Catholics around the world.
“I wanted next year, in preparation for the 2025 Jubilee, to be entirely dedicated to prayer,” he said.
Practically speaking, how can we live out this call to make prayer a central part of our lives? Here are a few ways we might build a consistent habit of prayer in the new year.
Hook it onto an existing habit
A popular tactic for building a new habit is to “hook” it onto an existing habit.
If you drink a cup of coffee every morning, you might make a plan to pray while you’re sipping that morning joe.
Do you go to the gym after work every day? The trip there, or some quiet time while stretching and cooling down, can be a chance to pray for a few minutes.
One of my friends likes to pray about her day ahead while she’s in the shower every morning. She knows she won’t skip showering, so this plan guarantees that she’ll get some prayer time every day, even if it’s just for two minutes.
You get the idea. Hooking your prayer time onto an existing habit can help you build this new good habit.
Make use of “wasted” times
One of my favorite ways to manage my time better is to make use of liminal spaces, or in other words, “wasted” time. For example, I like to listen to a prayer reflection while I’m unloading the dishwasher in the morning, and I often listen to a spiritual reading audiobook when I’m running errands in the car.
A friend always prays the Morning Offering on the drive to school with her kids. Another prays the Rosary on his morning commute.
Again, you get the idea. We can look for opportunities to turn otherwise “wasted” time into a moment of connection with God.
Put it in your calendar
At the same time, we can’t just squeeze our prayer lives into the margins. If this is a concern, we might find it helpful to schedule prayer time on our calendars. Even just 10 minutes of prayer in the morning makes an enormous difference, bringing God’s peace and joy into our lives so that we can feel the effects all day long.
Use technology (within reason)
Not everyone is going to find technology beneficial for prayer, so of course, do what’s best for you. I do enjoy listening to prayer reflections on the Hallow app as well as praying the Rosary with an app and listening to spiritual reading audiobooks on my phone.
Even if you don’t like to do any of those things, you might just find it helpful to set a timer or alert to remind you when to pray. I like to set a 10-minute timer to pray while I’m drinking my morning cup of coffee, and that’s working really well for me in this season of life. If it makes sense for you, there are lots of great tech resources to enhance your prayer life.
Here’s to building a strong habit of prayer in the new year!