Sunday, September 22, 2013

Pray Without Ceasing

Every new school year, I find myself re-examining my habits. The last few years I have been teaching religious education classes at our local parish. While I'm getting ready for the new school year, getting ideas together for how I want to teach my students the beauty of the Catholic Church, I often examine what I want to leave with them. I know that one of the things that I remember most about my teachers wasn't so much what they taught but the example they gave me when they taught. Knowing this, I examine myself and how I want to grow as a person, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, teacher, ect in my spiritual life. One thing I constantly find myself lacking in is daily prayer. I have found that if I have a certain action that I attach a certain prayer to I tend to remember to say the prayer. So, I'm coming up with some different actions that will remind me to pray throughout the day. Things that I do every day and offering up everything I do throughout the day and night to God through prayer. Here is how I will be trying to change my prayer life, obviously I will need a lot of work (so pray for me!) in order to make it an actual routine. I know I will forget and fall many, many, many, many times, but I think that it is important to make time to always pray, and to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Sometimes it will be joint with my husband and my kids, sometimes it may just be in my heart. This way our whole family can get in the habit of praying all the time while our children our still so young.
Most of the time my son wakes me up in the morning, so when he wakes me up, we can start our day with the Sign of the Cross and a quick prayer together. For example, Thank you God for waking us up to start a new day. Please be with us and guide us in everything we do and say today.
At breakfast we say our mealtime grace, at the same time as grace we always Thank God for our family and our Godchildren/people we have sponsored for confirmation each individually by name (for example, Thank you for Mommy, Daddy, Kid 1, Kid 2, ect, Godchild/sponsored confirmed by order that they received the Sacrament). That way we are always praying for each other.
During lunch and dinner time, we say the same grace with thanking God for everyone.
Throughout the day, if I'm driving around, playing with the kids outside, or taking my kids on a walk.I try to either listen to praise music or pray the rosary. Either way, I try to keep my focus on God and figuring out what He is calling me to do according to His will.
When playing with my kids throughout the day, I can thank God for the gift of my children and that I am able to stay at home with them.
When I'm doing the dishes or cleaning, I can thank God simply for the sacrifice (those chores are by far not my favorite part of being a wife/mother) of doing something for my husband and children that will often go unnoticed, until it doesn't get done of course.
While I'm cooking dinner, I can thank God for the ability to feed my family and pray for those who do not have enough to eat that day.
If I haven't driven around or have not said/finished my rosary, right before the kids go to bed we can say a family rosary. After the initial fight of making the kids sit down and focus (which can be very difficult for a toddler), saying the rosary before bed calms them down and gets them ready to fall asleep (if they don't fall asleep during the rosary...BONUS!)
And finally before finally closing my eyes, a prayer of thanksgiving for the blessings of that day!

How do you pray without ceasing?

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