“Maintaining a Prayer Life Amidst a Busy World”–this was the theme for a retreat I co-lead this past weekend for alumnae of Fontbonne University (my alma mater, founded and sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph). When one of the sisters first asked me, I had to laugh, as taking time to plan and lead the retreat would indeed make maintaining a prayer life amidst the busyness of my already busy world even that much more difficult. But, I said yes, which I am too oft apt to do, and, I think the retreat went well.
Here are a few takeaways from the content of the retreat:
1.) Prayer is conversation with God. Sometimes that conversation uses words, and sometimes not.
2.) Prayer can happen anywhere. As Ignatius says, “Find God in all things.” St. Francis said, “Pray all ways.”
When I look at points one and two, I am a little easier on myself when my formal, sit down, sit still prayer isn’t quite what I would want it to be.
3.) One of the best prayers I say is the setting of the day’s intention when I first wake up. As a sister, this entails renewing my vows. When I commit to a way of being from the minute my feet hit the floor, it is almost always a pretty good day.
4.) Tools such as websites/apps “Pray as You Go, “Bible Gateway, and “Insight Timer,” (just to name a few), can help prayer happen anywhere when you might have just a few minutes to spare.
5.) An examination of consciousness, a.k.a. the Examen, is a great tool for the end of the day and maybe even the middle.
Regardless of how busy life gets, the running, on-going conversation with God is a must for me. Without it, ministry becomes work, I lose compassion and focus, and what I need to be my best me disappears.