I grew up going to Catholic Schools-1st grade through 12th. I left 12th grade with very little knowledge (sadly) of how to actually "pray." The thing about prayer is you can talk about it a lot but until you just "do it" and dive in, you won't get anywhere. Enter FOCUS summer training 2007. As a new missionary I was required to pray in silence for 1 hour every day, attend daily mass, and do a rosary-every day. Talk about a change in lifestyle! Never before in my life had I spent so much quiet time with myself and God. Sure I had "prayed" before, but mostly just when I needed things. In college I had a Bible and it sat on my shelf, occasionally coming out for Bible Study each week. But now, now I had hours (literally) inside a chapel with nothing but silence. And it was HARD. It wasn't fun, at least not at first. I laugh when I hear people say that religious monks and sisters have it "easy" because they retreat from the "world" and just pray all day. Sitting silent for hours each day requires you to look at yourself, to really sit with yourself and all the things in your life.
After spending two years in FOCUS doing the daily routine of prayer -my life changed. Suddenly God wasn't just some big thing up in the sky directing things. He was real. I took everything to him-the good, the bad, the ugly, the insignificant-everything. Its amazing how prayer shaped my daily choices and activities. Suddenly if I had a problem I found myself waiting until prayer time to figure out the next step. Things slowed way down in my life and I started to crave more silence instead of dread it.
Is there room in your day for more prayer? For more silence? A good gut check for me is to go through my daily routine and look at the noise-alarm clock, television, radio, talking on phone, music in the car, talking at work, etc. We fill our days with so much noise that God can't get in. In our home from 1-3 pm each day the kids nap, and silence fills the air. Its a beautiful thing. Having those two hours of quiet gives me time to think, to pray, to receive whatever it is God is trying to tell me. I often read scripture or other books. I can't say I spend the entire 2 hours in silence, but it is "quiet," without distractions.
I guess I wanted to start off writing about prayer because often times when I say things like "God spoke to me" or "I feel like God is asking me to do this or that" I fear people might wonder-when? how is God speaking to you? It's in the quiet time, the prayer time. God speaks in the silence and unless we are used to listening we will miss what He is saying. Our souls can rest in silence-they were made for eternal rest so training ourselves here on Earth to rest is really just a preparation for eternity. St.Augustine said "My heart is restless until it rest in Thee." Oh how true are his words!
Hoping you can find some time today to sit in silence and pray.