How about giving up sin for your New Year’s resolution.? That’s as highly desirable as it is improbable, so I purpose the second best thing in 2013: pray more. It can be a stand-alone resolution or a complement to any other.
More exercise? Pray for incentive and pray during exercise.
Dieting? Pray for resolve.
Giving up smoking? You need to pray. A lot.
With increasing prayer as a resolution, you can quantify and specify. For instance: I will pray a daily rosary… I will set my watch to 3 PM and say the Chaplet of Mercy every afternoon… Our family will gather for a Sunday rosary every week… etc. You can make a commitment regarding morning or evening prayers; pray novenas, the Divine Office or anything you think will draw you closer to God.
Regardless of whether you are in the ready position for self-improvement in the New Year, more prayer is easy. You can also raise or lower the bar as the year progresses rather than throw in the towel come February when your initial enthusiasm slips.
Prayer runs through the fabric of Scripture and we are told, “…pray without ceasing; (1 Thes. 5:17). Thus, our very lives should be a prayer to God. By offering him our day, seeking to live in union with our Lord and touching base with him throughout, we pray without ceasing. Of course we have to go about our lives and interact with people, but God would not ask us to do something we could not.
Suggestions to Increase Prayer Life
Here are a few simple and practical ideas for how to pray.
- Put yourself in the presence of God and empty your mind—let God do the talking.
- Vocal prayer.
- Sing. “He who sings prays twice.” (St. Augustine)
- Send up short prayers throughout the day such as, “Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on me.”
- Just talk to God throughout the day.
- Talk to your Blessed Mother and ask her to take your prayers to her Son.
- Don’t forget to offer a few words to your brothers and sisters in heaven. They want you to join them one day.
- Read a prayer book.
- Listen to a CD or join EWTN during schedule prayer times.
- Boost your focus by kneeling.
- Pray before the Blessed Sacrament.
Prayer Means Never Being Bored
With a commitment to pray, you are never at a loss for something to do and endless opportunities await you. Here are a few simple and practical ideas for when to pray.
- Waiting in line.
- Stuck in traffic.
- When God’s name is taken in vain or you hear vulgar language, pray for them.
- Witnessing troubling behavior or dress, pray for them.
- For people who make you angry.
- Pray for yourself when you get angry.
- Pray for help when your kids have done something wrong.
- Give thanksgiving when they have done something right.
- Remember to pray for the souls in purgatory.
- Pray for your spouse whether happily married, struggling or divorced.
- Before beginning something and when done.
- Every situation, be it good or bad, can benefit from prayer.
So there you go, a New Year’s resolution that won’t let you down and is renewable every year. Even though I pegged it as the “second best” resolution, it will help get you closer to the first best—giving up sin. You can pray against temptation and the more you pray, the greater protection you will have against sin.
Happy New Year!
Patti Maguire Armstrong and her husband have ten children. She is a writer with Teresa Tomeo Communications, an award-winning author, and was managing editor and co-author of Ascension Press’s Amazing Grace Series. She has appeared on TV and radio stations across the country. Her latest books, Big Hearted: Inspiring Stories from Everyday Families, and children’s book, Dear God, I Don’t Get It (available for pre-order now!) will both be released in April.
Looking for a Catholic Speaker? Check out Patti’s speaker page and the rest of the ICL Speaker’s Bureau.
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