Sunday, May 29, 2011

My prayer experiment - a week in

My experiment in prayer has been underway for a little over a week. After reading Matthew Kelly's, "Rediscovering Catholicism" (which I can't recommend enough!), I decided to try scheduling 10 minutes of quiet, uninterrupted prayer into each day. Enter the "classroom of silence" and spend some time with God. Lovely, yes?

It has been... bumpy. You'd think this would be simple. Find time each day to spend a quiet 10 minutes in prayer. Ten little minutes! How hard could that be?

The first couple of days were great. My plan is to carve out my 10 minutes after my daughter goes down for her nap, while my boys are getting their cartoon time. It's the best shot I have for uninterrupted quiet time that isn't at the very end of the day. I pray before bed anyway, but so often it's that falling asleep, not sure when I stopped praying and started sleeping prayer time. So I wanted another time during the day to spend in prayer. In any case, at first it was easy. I was motivated. I marched upstairs, pushed my bedroom door partway closed, sat in my computer chair, checked the time (because I am apparently that anal), turned my chair around (so I wouldn't be tempted to open Facebook) and prayed.

After that, things went downhill a little bit. I kept forgetting to start with my prayer time. I'd come upstairs after getting the boys settled, sit down at my desk, and hop on the internet. Ten or twenty minutes later, I'd realize with a gasp that I'd forgotten. So I'd swing my chair around and spend my 10 minutes of prayer then, before going on with what I'd been doing. It wasn't so bad - I didn't intentionally mess it up, and I still spent my 10 minutes, so at the end of the day, I'd accomplished what I wanted to do. Just not quite perfectly.

Weekends have been another story. Without the benefit of my usual routine, I get to the end of the day and realize I've barely said "hi" to God, let alone spent my 10 minutes in quiet prayer.

It's been a powerful lesson, actually. A lesson in how, no matter how good my intentions may be, I'm going to screw up. You hear that all the time - how we're born sinners and it's in our nature and we can't be perfect without God's help. That we can't be who we are supposed to be without God's help. I don't know that I've contemplated that concept very deeply until the last week or so. I can't do it on my own. I can't be who I was made to be. I can't even remember to stop and spend 10 measly minutes everyday in silent prayer. Ten little minutes, and I even screwed that up.

I'm not wallowing in self-deprecation here, but I think it's a good thing to contemplate one's shortcomings, especially as it relates to spiritual growth. This has been a very vivid reminder that I can't become who God plans for me to become without His help. In my shortcomings, I see the very thing I need to overcome my shortfalls. I see God.


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, this post was so good. I don't think I have ever in my life said a full novena without skipping a day. I am always on catch up. It's brutal. It is so good of you to be aware of this and to try and make time for God during the day with three children. See, I could be using prayer time right now...ugh! I think we get points for trying.

Claire said...

I think we get points for trying too! It's a process, that's for sure. I'm a long way from where I was a few years ago. I'd go days... weeks I bet, without praying at all. I just didn't think of it very often. We do our best, based on where we are at that time, I think.