Monday, May 16, 2011

An experiment in prayer - the classroom of silence

At the Easter Sunday masses, my church handed out a copy of Matthew Kelly's book, "Rediscovering Catholicism," to each household. I just finished reading the book and I feel like I need to read it about five more times. It's very, very good and if anyone comes across this post, I highly recommend it - especially if you're Catholic, but even if you're not.

I'll probably comment on things I read that resonated often, but there was so much in the book that I need to process, I decided I'll start small. One of his suggestions for deepning your spiritual life is to make prayer a priority. He found that scheduling just 10 minutes of uninterrupted prayer time every single day was enormously important for him and he encourages his readers to do the same. Enter the "classroom of silence" and pray. I love that image, the classroom of silence. It conjures such a lovely image for me - peace, tranquility, a time of listening and communing with God. In stark contrast to much of the rest of my life, the classroom of silence sounds like a lovely respite from the chaos of caring for a family.

So my challenge to myself is to carve out 10 minutes a day to enter the classroom of silence. I've been pondering how to make it work for days now. Ten minutes doesn't sound like much - in fact, it is so little time, considering all the hours we really have in a day. How could I not find 10 minutes? But I'm not looking for any 10 minutes. I'm looking for 10 minutes of silence. Ten minutes where my kids aren't asking for a snack, where my brain isn't occupied with thirty other things. Not while I'm driving down the street, not while I'm fixing lunches, not while I'm showering. Ten minutes set aside for nothing else but to be silent and in prayer.

I make time to do all kinds of things during my day, even while caring for my children. I go to the gym almost every day, and that takes a heck of a lot more than 10 minutes. If I can make time for exercise, I can make time for 10 minutes of prayer. In fact, the answer is rather simple and requires little more than a bit of reorganizing of my afternoon and a healthy dose of discipline - the latter being the more difficult portion of this exercise.

Every weekday, I put my daughter down for a nap, let my boys watch a cartoon, and head upstairs to hop on my computer. It is my time to decompress a little, recharging my batteries for the afternoon. But if Facebooking, blog-reading, emailing and IM'ing with my husband at work are battery chargers for me - how much more will adding 10 minutes of silent, uninterrupted prayer time recharge me spiritually? I just have to have enough self control and self discipline to make that time first - before I sit down at my desk, before I open Facebook. Prayer first.

I'm working on this as the first good spiritual habit I want to create. I'm excited to put real effort into deepening my prayer life.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I have been told to pray so many times and have failed as many times. This is such a great post. I think St. Thomas Aquinas said that prayer is the hardest type of work..

Jamie said...

I found your blog today and I thought I'd read a bit! We have a lot in common. I'll be looking forward to reading more from your corner of the world!

Claire said...

Thanks Jamie! I'm glad to have you here!