A Word in Season
Six Ways to Make Time to Pray
Go to Adoration. Then unplug. I've got this on my calendar too. Find a chapel near you and, yes, schedule one hour for God, and one hour of free time for you after you go. Think of it as a kind of date between you and God. Learning to be silent, and learning to unplug are good disciplines. Try to do this weekly or monthly as your calendar and state in life allows.
This quote from Pope Benedict has haunted me, in a good way, when it comes to becoming more detached from my gadgets and my need to be plugged into silence.
Ours is not an age which fosters recollection... one has the impression that people are afraid of detaching themselves, even for a moment, from the mass media. For this reason, it is necessary nowadays... [to] be educated in the value of silence.
Rediscovering the centrality of God's word in... life means rediscovering a sense of recollection and inner repose.... Only in silence can the word of God find a home in us... (Benedict XVI, Verbum Domini, par. 66.)
Put a short devotional prayer book on your meal table. I've got this one for the Year of Faith from Magnificat tucked inside the napkin holder on the family table. I read aloud a page—just a page—a night. And yes, I've missed a few nights when I've been out. Remember, keep your goals small and doable: Read just a page. Find a page-a-day resource to share with your loved ones. (Families: Lisa Hendey, one of our bloggers at Patheos has a new mini-book for Advent that would be perfect for this. Mark your calendar: Advent starts December 2.)
Plan to go on a retreat. A retreat is like a spa-treatment for the soul. Don't deny yourself this gift any longer. This is the Year of Faith and you deserve it! Take a weekend away to be alone with the Lover of your soul.
Shop around for a Catholic retreat house. Take a small portion of your vacation time and budget and go. If you cannot afford it, ask someone to sponsor you—like your pastor. Or ask a relative to "gift" you for your birthday or for Christmas the next time they ask what they can give you. Then promise to pray for your benefactor.
There are many one-day retreats or days of renewal at local parishes or dioceses. Get online or read the diocesan paper for event listings. Or ask for recommendations by talking to the priests or people in your parish. You'll find different styles of retreats that fit different kinds of needs and temperaments. Some retreats feature talks and discussions with other people on the retreat. Some are silent, where you just meet with a spiritual director now and again. Then you spend time at Mass, and in quiet reading, praying, or thinking.
Don't be afraid. Go!
Prayer maintains our friendship with God. Like a sacred appointment, we tend to stay faithful to the things we actually commit to and add to our daily and monthly calendars. I saw a bumper sticker that held a surprising amount of wisdom on this subject: "Know Jesus, know peace. No Jesus, no peace."
Book your appointment with God today!
Pat Gohn is a Catholic writer, speaker, and the host of the Among Women Podcast and blog. Her book Blessed, Beautiful and Bodacious: Celebrating the Gift of Catholic Womanhood is published by Ave Maria Press. Subscribe to “A Word in Season” via email or RSS.