Too Busy not to Pray!
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis in his Wednesday Audience on Aug. 26, 2015 tells parents to “Teach your children to pray.” He goes on to say:” The most frequent complaint of Christians is actually with regard to time: “I should pray more...; I would like to but often I have no time”. Pope Francis does not diminish the challenges of time and family life as evident in the same message:
“We know well that family time is a complicated and crowded time, busy and preoccupied. There is always little, there is never enough, there are so many things to do. One who has a family soon learns to solve an equation that not even the great mathematicians know how to solve: within 24 hours they make twice that many! There are mothers and fathers who could win the Nobel Prize for this. Out of 24 hours they make 48: I don’t know how they do it but they get on and do it! There is so much work in a family!”
But yet, our Holy Father emphasizes the great importance and foundation of prayer.
Perhaps, looking first at the "no-time" issue may help us to move into prayer. St. Francis de Sales once said, “Every one of us needs half an hour of prayer a day, except when we are busy – then we need an hour.” Sounds impossible but with a little thought this makes sense. The more responsibilities we have, the busier we are, the more we need our Heavenly Father’s assistance and guidance.
Of course we may agree that we need more time for prayer but the practical question then is HOW do we find more time or better yet, make time? There are all kinds of time management books and systems that are certainly helpful. Time Management for Catholics by Dave Durand is a very good resource for families with helpful tips. My favorite bit of advice from the book is “True time management, then, means spending your time the way God wants you to spend it.”
That made me think then and it makes me think now. It really is not MY time. It is God’s time. How am I using HIS time? That thought can be a little bit sobering at times but also helps me to reflect often on my use and my family’s use of time. I have to remind myself often to simply ask God “What do you want me to do for you today? What are Your plans?” I am not sure he would say “surf the net or play video games or __fill in the blank__. Maybe he has a better plan for my day even if I thought I had a good plan! Sometimes we try to do too, many good things. What is Your plan Lord? Why, oh why is it so difficult to remember to ask You that?
My second favorite bit of advice is “Evaluate your use of Time”. Asking God to help me evaluate my use of His time can be quite effective! He will point out good and bad use of His time if I ask and I want to hear. Ouch. Yes, sometimes it is eye opening. Next step, sincerely ask God to help me manage time. He is glad to do it.
Be assured, God wants to spend time with each of us- and our children- so He always has time built into our schedules for frequent time with Him!
Once the Time issue is tackled and time for prayer is made a priority in the schedule, occasions for prayer seems to naturally present themselves along with the deliberately scheduled time for prayer. Times to pray for and with our families can with a little thought be naturally incorporated into our busy schedules. Yes, morning , bedtime and mealtime prayer along with Sunday Mass are obvious ways but there are so many brief moments throughout our day that we can be talking and listening to God. A decade of the Rosary or an Our Father on the way to school, a prayer for the person in the ambulance that just passed, praying for family members while folding laundry or mowing the lawn are ways we can pray and teach our children to pray. As a young Mom, Brother Lawrence taught me how to pray amidst the chaos and business of family life. Striving for unceasing prayer is simple and do-able but not easy.
Isn’t it ironic that we struggle to make time for God, the Creator and giver of time! But, many have gone before us and share this challenge of living a prayerful family life and offer suggestions and tips that may work for you family. Be sure and check out this invaluable resource The Little Oratory, A Beginners Guide to Praying in the Home published by Sophia Press.
In this month of October, we invite you to pray the Rosary. Join the Family Rosary Pledge and make it part of your family prayer life.
Click Here for more Resources on the Rosary and on Prayer