It’s easy (and understandable) to have a desire for daily prayer only to be discouraged by the challenges that come with making space in our busy day for time to connect with the Lord. But entering into conversation with God on a regular basis is something that we need in our lives as Catholic women.
Women who successfully make prayer a priority in their daily routines know that St. John Chrysostom was right when he wisely said that “it is simply impossible to lead, without the aid of prayer, a virtuous life.” I asked women who pray every day to share with me their top tips and habits for starting to pray daily. Here are seven daily practices and habits that these women never skip.
1. Choose a time to pray that complements your season of life
Some women who pray every day swear by setting their alarm for 5 a.m. and settling into the silence before other members of their family are up and around. But others love making daily prayer part of their night time routine. Still others pray during their lunch break at work.
Choose a time to pray that makes sense with your season of life. For instance, if you’re up in the middle of the night with kids on a regular basis, an early morning prayer time might not be the time of day you’re most aware and present for prayer. Spend time examining your day and seeing when would be a good time to connect intentionally with the Lord in prayer.
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2. Transform daily tasks into daily prayers
St. Paul’s exhortation to the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing” sounds like an impossible task (cf 5:17). But when you begin to think of monotonous tasks like loading the dishwasher, shoveling the driveway, or staying focused during a big project at work as ways to pray, praying without ceasing becomes much more attainable.
When you encounter something in the day that you’d rather not do (like laundry), catch yourself before you complain about the task at hand. Then, intentionally offer up the work ahead for someone for whom you’ve promised to pray!
3. Subscribe to daily prayer podcasts and prompts
Whether it’s the popular Bible in a Year podcast hosted by Father Mike Schmitz or the Pray More Novenas podcast, women who make prayer a part of their daily routine use technology to remind them to pray throughout the day or help create structure within their prayer time.
Other women mentioned daily email reflections (like the ones from Blessed is She) that are the perfect reminder to see in their email inbox before starting their day.
4. Have a dedicated prayer space in your home
Home altars don’t need to be extravagant or complicated, but having a place dedicated to prayer in your life can help you enter into your time of prayer intentionally. Maybe you always sit down in a certain chair in your home where you can see a crucifix that hangs on the wall. Or you might set up a small table by your bed that holds your prayer books and rosary.
5. Leave yourself reminders that you can’t miss
Women who pray every day mentioned that leaving notes and prompts for themselves around their home or workplace made a big difference in making the habit of daily prayer, especially at the beginning of their journey to growing in daily prayer. Maybe you set an alarm on your phone that goes off at 3 p.m. to remind you to pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet during a break at work. Or you could set your copy of the daily readings on your keyboard so you can’t power up your computer before praying with Scripture.
6. Ask someone to hold you accountable
Maybe you’re just starting to make daily prayer a priority in your schedule; perhaps you’re entering into this practice in an intentional way this Lent! Ask a friend to check in with you and see if you prayed. Married women who pray every day mentioned that they share their prayer goals with their spouse, who can ask them about it as they get ready for bed in the evening. Having someone to hold you accountable can be a great incentive to show up to prayer time consistently.
7. Find strength in the Sacraments
Making prayer a part of your daily life isn’t something you have to white-knuckle your way through. In fact, the more time the women I talked to spent in prayer, the more they realized the grace they needed to continue the daily habit in the face of temptation to leave prayer behind for seemingly more important tasks.
Whether it was making time for daily Mass throughout the week or intentionally planning a time to go to confession on a monthly basis, the women who shared their habits of daily prayer mentioned their reliance on the sacraments.
Making prayer a priority in your day can be a challenge, especially since the devil wants nothing more than to distract us from the power of connecting with Christ. This fact is something the saints knew well.
“The way Jesus shows you is not easy,” Pope St. John Paul II said in his 1995 World Youth Day message. “Rather, it is like a path winding up a mountain. Do not lose heart! The steeper the road, the faster it rises toward ever wider horizons!”
If you’re striving to make prayer a part of your daily life as a Catholic woman, don’t lose heart! Find encouragement in the sacraments and in the saints and continue to draw closer to the heart of Christ.