The year 2014 is upon us and we are hopeful. This is the time of year when optimism is kindled. A new year means new beginnings and presents the opportunity to break from destructive habits and turn down new roads pregnant with possibilities. Within this fertile soil of hope many of us take time to reflect on our lives. In reflecting upon our health, our time, our families and our goals we are often spurred to make greater efforts to maintain balance in our lives and to foster a greater love in our hearts. One of the most powerful ways to bring balance in our lives is to live them prayerfully. Scripture doesn’t joke around about prayer. The Psalmist encourages us to pray 7 times a day (Psalm 119:164), and the apostle Paul even extols people to pray constantly (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Here are a few resources I have found useful in incorporating prayer into all aspect of my life.
My family is a huge part of my life. I see my primary vocation as being a spiritual leader and caretaker for my family. One of the resources I really love is the Catholic Household Prayers and Blessings. This is essentially a collection put out by the USCCB. It includes all the prayers one might need to bless your house your meals, your Christmas tree, and other such things. It also has morning and evening prayers and lots of other prayers and blessings to help create a prayer life in your home and in your community that is rich and useful. My only gripe is that the current edition being published by Image books is too small to be useful in a public context, and has removed some of the great content from some earlier editions. There is also a similar volume put out by the Canadian Bishops which I think is fantastic. Another great way to pray in your community is to find a group and pray part of the liturgy of the hours together.
Justice and Mercy Prayers
A huge part of my life is connected to my work toward ending hunger. I often find encouragement in my work by returning to this collection of prayers about hunger. Incorporating one or two of them into my daily life helps bring an invaluable spiritual awareness to your work on behalf of poor and hungry people and keeps me focused on God’s heart for vulnerable people. If there is an issue that is close to your heart I would love to hear how you lift it up in prayer in the comments below!
Prayers for work
I often need inspiration while I am working. I have a prayer which I have posted next to my computer in my office. This helps me a great deal. It’s called the Prayer of the farm Workers Struggle. I am not a farm worker, but it gives me a great perspective on all my work. I love it. You can read it here.
Prayers for deeper spirituality
Often we pray about things in our lives, but I believe a well-balanced prayer life should also take time to pray in such a way that you are simply available to know and love God more deeply. In my own life this kind of prayer happens most powerfully through praying the rosary. Here are my top ten reasons why I love it.
One of my New Year’s Resolutions is to pray more. I encourage you to make 2014 a year of prayer too. I’d love to hear how you bring prayer into your life. Let me know in the comments!