Lent is over. The joy of the Resurrection is here!
With that joy, for me, came sugar, gluten, unsoaked grains, a bloated feeling and a lack of structure in my prayer life. I work so hard for 40+ days at certain habits, and as soon as Lent is over, sometimes I fall right off the wagon. Sometimes so fast that I can’t even find the wagon!
(In case you’re wondering, I do feel better off sugar and on soaked grains. I’ll write more on those experiences next week.)
Today I want to encourage you to keep up the discipline of prayer that you (hopefully) increased during the Lenten season. I was on-again, off-again with my goal of praying on my knees, even for a few seconds, as soon as I woke up. I really enjoyed our family prayers time and praying a decade of the Rosary every night, and I definitely improved my “moving prayer” during the day and gave more time and thought to God.
I’m afraid I’ll lose that if I don’t give myself a goal again, right away.
For this week I’m leaning on the structure of the Divine Mercy Chaplet Novena that started on Good Friday and will end this Sunday, St. Faustina’s feast day. (I just realized there are supposed to be certain intentions for each day – whoops. My husband and I have just been praying the chaplet together each day.)
After that I’m going to try to follow my own advice from a post I wrote just as I was starting blogging:
If you don’t think you can fit prayer into your schedule, try 5 minutes. Choose morning, evening, or any particular time of day and commit to setting the timer for FIVE minutes (so you don’t interrupt your prayer to check the clock) and pray.
- Choose some written prayers to pray every day if you don’t think you can focus well.
- Have a prayer list of intentions handy, those people you want to pray for, so that you keep on task.
- If you’re like me, having a plan will help so that you don’t spend the last 4 minutes of your 5-minute prayer thinking about what you need to do around the house!
For me, a specific time of day doesn’t work – it has to be a point in my routine. For example, because I’m an at-home-mother of young children, my day is not tied to the clock, so I wouldn’t say, “Every day at 3:00 I’ll pray for 5 minutes.”
Who KNOWS what I might be doing at 3:00?
If you have kids in school, however, a “time” might work for you. Try about 10 minutes before the kids come home. Then you can pray for 5 minutes and prepare for their coming for the next 5.
Some other ideas include:
- upon waking up
- after brushing your teeth
- first thing after the child(ren) go down for a nap (BEFORE you get involved in doing your to-do list – it’s too long anyway!)
- right after dinner
- after dishes are done
- after the kid(s) go down at night
- when you get home from work…
- The list is endless and must be tailored to YOUR situation.
Praying while driving?
I have no problem with driving prayer and count it as valuable in my day. However, you still probably deserve to spend 5 minutes a day, on your knees, with 100% focus on God and the ability to read prayers or your intentions list. It’s just 5 minutes.
I have different ways to keep this going in my own life. For quite a while I always had a novena going for someone. I’d choose a special intention, choose a saint (or a particular prayer or set of prayers) to pray for them, and do the same thing at my naptime prayers, right after my son went down, every day for nine days. Then I’d choose a new intention and new prayers for the next nine.
I kept track of these on my prayer calendar…just in case any miracles happened, I’d have documentation, right?! And that helped keep me on track. This way, I felt I HAD to keep the novena going for my special person/people, therefore I was less likely to skip prayer time. If my son skipped his nap, I could still complete it at night after he fell asleep. (Find lists of novenas for your reference here, here, and here.)
Then I had another baby, and naptime routine changed completely!
I no longer had a definite time to myself during the day, and my prayer life suffered immensely. Yes, I had those middle-of-the-night feedings to offer up, but my 3:00 a.m. decades of the Rosary weren’t what I would call “quality time”. Nor were they very consistent. Satan tricked me into thinking that I didn’t have the energy to pray.
Finally I am getting back on track as baby #2 approaches six months. (Now she’s pushing two years old and it’s time to get “back on track” yet again!) The novena idea failed me when I finished one and didn’t choose the next one, so I decided to have daily prayer intentions, my “most important people,” on one list and a saint to pray to for each one of them. I quickly implore each saint to pray for this person, and if I have a particular intention for them, I add that at the time. I can do this in 5 minutes, plus ask God for help in my day and even add another prayer for my marriage sometimes. Here is an idea of my current list:
- St. Joseph – for my husband
- St. Paul – for my son
- St. Katharine Drexel – for my daughter
- Mary, Mother of God – for patience in parenting for myself
- I offer up my: time, money, parenting, daily duty
- St. Monica – for my parents and in-laws (I figure she prayed for her son, but she can pray for my parents, too. I don’t know if there is a patron saint of parents!)
- St. Michael the Archangel – for my brother in the armed forces
- St. Maria Goretti – for my sister and brother-in-law, newly married
- St. Benedict – for my work, my writing, discernment about jobs
- St. Martin de Porres – for the USA and the conversion of President Obama
- For an end to abortion and contraception
- St. Gerard – for all my pregnant friends (16 at one point – too many to keep track of!! God knows my heart…)
- Blessed Mother Teresa – for all sick, especially…(here I can add people as I learn of illnesses)
You can do this, too. God wants to talk to you, even if it’s just 5 minutes. When you’re lucky, the timer will beep and you’ll ignore it because you’re enjoying your time with the Lord so much. This is how we grow in holiness…one 5-minute step at a time.
UPDATE: Here is an annotated list of the same saints, with the reasons I chose them and some info on patron saints in general.
With the whole family, we have The Garden of the Good Shepherd: A Sticker Calendar to Count the Fifty Days of Easter to keep us on the ball. This calendar is quick and easy, but deep and powerful at the same time. Shower of Roses has incredible connecting/extending activities.
What are you doing to keep the prayerful spirit of Lent alive while enjoying the Alleluias of the Easter Season?