Q. Praying Every Day?

Q. Do I have to Pray every Day?

A. A few other questions to ask as well: “Do I have to eat every day?” “Do I have to sleep every day?” “Do I have to brush my teeth everyday?” For a day, maybe even more, one could forgo doing these things, but a person would not like it and it could actually do harm. By not praying, one could become self-centered, selfish, and depressed. These are just a few of the consequences. Perhaps that is why Christ commands His disciples to pray always.

Christ also tells His disciples that when one prays, he should go to his inner room and to pray alone. Yet, Christ also says that when two or three are gathered in His name that He is present. Christ wants both private and communal prayer. Prayer, whether private or communal, may come in many forms: blessing and adoration, petition, intercession, praise, and thanksgiving. In all these forms, prayer is a conversation with God. At times it is a dialogue, but many times it is listening. Sadly, many people think that prayer is telling God what they want or need. These people are disappointed when they do not get what they want. This is why it is important to see it as a conversation where one also allows God to communicate what He wants for that person.

Would one ever ask “Do I have to speak to my closest friend every day?” Of course not! That’s because one usually longs to speak with his or her friend to strengthen that friendship. So too, God wants His disciples to grow closer to Him. This is done through prayer. If one practices praying everyday, one grows closer to God, one grows closer to the Saints in Heaven, one becomes less self-centered and, therefore, more God-centered.

So, start praying to God! Try not to do too much in one day. Prayer, like physical exercise, needs to be built up. One who is out of shape cannot do a marathon on his or her first day of exercise. Some people get discouraged when they cannot do all-night vigils in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Talk with a priest and come up with a plan. If you can visit a Church, try stopping in for five minutes of adoration. Find and recite a daily morning prayer and, at the very start of your day, dedicate it to Christ. Read a passage from the Bible, especially from the Gospels and the Book of Psalms. While reading the passage, simply ask God to open your heart to what He is telling you. Try praying the rosary. If that seems a little much at first, try praying just one decade. The important thing to remember is to not get frustrated but to listen for the Lord to speak. When you speak, keep it focused on asking God to help others, especially the sick and suffering, including the souls in purgatory.

JL