Balancing your prayer life


I’ve been praying the rosary for the better part of two years at this point, excluding a few short periods of lack of discipline. I gradually began praying the Divine Office, and I am currently praying all of the hours.

However, I find that I’m spending almost all of my prayer time meditating on the mysteries and scripture, and almost no time interceding for my protestant family’s or atheist best friend’s conversions. Not to mention all the other things in our lives that require prayer, the dignity of the unborn, and world and church leaders. Then right down to the simple things such as the growth of relationships and safe travel.

How does one balance all of these important aspects of prayer? Is there a way that people have found to incorporate these into the Liturgy of the Hours perhaps, or is the answer trying to find even MORE time to set aside?

I feel like the Lord is stirring up in my heart to pray for too many things at once. How can I deal with that and find time to pray for everything? I fear that it’s only going to get worse as I enter my last year of a difficult engineering degree this August, and my non-religious commitments swell.


I have seen several people incorporate their personal petitions into the intercessions. Just add them to the end of the list then say the Our Father and end as usual.


Woah !
Relax. God - I’m sure appreciates - your attempts -
But you need to put things in better priority !
First things first -
How about forgetting everything - for a few days…
And then - following your heart - and going where the spirit leads you :innocent:


Since you are already praying, you can just add those petitions to them. You do not have to be very legalistic in how you pray. God would still hear you.


You don’t need to set aside more time.
Also, once you start praying for intentions, or even other people, you will soon find yourself with an endless list.
It can feel very overwhelming.

I feel this way every time I read a newspaper. It’s even worse if you do research using old newspaper databases and read some of the absolutely grisly news stories from the 20s, 30s, 40s…then you realize there are zillions of people from the past who need prayers too. The newspapers used to report suicides with descriptions in those days.

Simply offer your LOTH prayer for whatever intentions you wish.
Meditating on the mysteries is a fine prayer to offer for any intention.
If you wish to have a lot of intentions, I suggest making a list or a notebook and then simply praying for the intentions in the book. This is what many churches and adoration chapels do. You write your intention in the book and then it is prayed for at every Mass or adoration.

God doesn’t need you to clock X amount of time for each intention or dedicate X prayers just for that intention, as long as you are sincere in your prayer. Thinking you need to do X amount of time or X amount of prayers in order to get God to hear you would be the “vain repetitions” that Jesus warned against.


Thank you for that. I very much appreciate your frank tone, which got a laugh out of me. Sometimes we need to realize how small our concerns are.

As I mentioned however, I’m engineering minded, and the thought of taking a break from my routine is difficult for me. I will however take your advice and listen closely for the Lord to lead me. That is in how I arrived at my current arrangement. As a convert the rosary was a particularly prayerfully considered step, and probably the most important one in my conversion.


Thank you for your practical advice. I was thinking of keeping a note card with a list of intentions in my breviary as you suggest. I’ll go ahead and do that at your encouraging.

I suppose this is a hold out from my conversion from a Pentecostal Protestant church, but I figure now is a good time to ask for clarification:

What exactly happens when I, for example, pray the rosary for some intention? So if I pray, “Lord please give me safe travel today, particularly as I cross the boarder into Canada. And I pray that the guard will use good judgement with us.” (made-up example.) Does praying a decade of the rosary with the intention of “my travel today” have the same affect or how does God know exactly what I want to pray for? I’ve wondered the same thing with redemptive suffering, by what mechanism does God apply my daily struggles to the souls in purgatory, or whatever?

Sorry for the random and probably childish question.


I heard someone on Catholic radio the other day saying that they offer specifc decades for particular intentions so that each rosary might have 5 intentions attached to it.

Have you ever heard of this practice before?


This is something I have heard as well. I have been told it is a good way to practice family prayer, each member leads a decade, announcing their intention at the beginning (obviously some people might have to go more than once depending on family size). I don’t have a family yet but it’s something I definitely want to do when I do!


Engineering minded :stuck_out_tongue:
Structured !
It’s good to have structure -
And it’s also fun to follow the spirit’s promptings too.
Have a Yin Yang, with the styles of both of them, maybe.


God knows everything and He knows what you want to pray for before you even ask. He even knows if you meant to pray for something and forgot what it was by the time you had a moment to pray.

It’s like if a father had a little child, he knows his child really well and he knows his child is scared of a monster under the bed or wants an ice cream before the child actually says, “Daddy, I’m scared of the monster, can you chase it away” or “Daddy, can I have ice cream”. But the father still likes to hear his child ask.

As for how God applies your redemptive suffering, it’s His decision to make. But usually he will honor any request you make, unless there’s a good reason not to. Example would be you offer your suffering for the soul of your deceased friend, but your friend unbeknownst to you is no longer in Purgatory, but instead has already gone to Heaven or to Hell. In that case, God would apply your suffering for some other good purpose. Maybe to help another soul in purgatory.

Sincere prayers of different types generally have the same effect. Jesus does suggest in Scripture that you should ask in His name so I always try to do that. But other than that, you can pray any way you are comfortable. Those of us who believe in approved apparitions (which Catholics are not required to believe in, but many of us choose to do so) might choose to say the prayers requested by the apparition, for example rosaries for world peace, or the Fatima Prayer. But I don’t think God is going to ignore someone saying, “Dear God, please forgive my sins and help all the poor souls” just because it wasn’t the exact words of the Fatima Prayer.


That is a good idea for family prayer! I’ll have to remember that!

This person was talking about their own personal prayer practice. Seems a bit unwieldy for me, but I do not have an engineering mind. :slightly_smiling_face:


You could structure a topic or prayer intention for each week or each day and write it down as a schedule of schedules and the like as it appeals to you. Or for each ‘hour’ or each mystery of the rosary as they have certain sentiments already, like joyful, glorious, sorrowful etc. and even within them the mysteries adhere to certain biblical events, like birth which could be linked to your concern for the unborn, Jesus being consecrated to God at the temple could remind you to pray for people’s conversions and Mary being crowned as Queen is a leadership which could remind you of your concern for the leaders of the world or something like that. If you like schedules and plans you could factor it all in on a table and make sure you include it all as part of your meditations. You say you have an engineering mind, I am not too sure what that entails, but I think you can work it all in together, I am sure. I hope you love it. I am more of a creative sort myself and I have no great memory so I ask God to remember my prayer list and when I can’t recall who I am to pray for I say to God and all those I ought to pray for. I think we should remember that God is the mighty one and we are just the little ones so it’s ok to rely on Him to do the big stuff, like we did when we were children with our parents.
God bless you, it sounds like you are doing well in all your prayers


You can simply pray the Office exactly as printed, but with the intention (formed before the prayer is started, but even if left unstated).

(silently) for the intention of the conversion of my heretic brother…"

Then begin the office: God, come to my assistance… etc.

Adding one or two intercessions for morning or evening prayer is permitted too; you can even do it silently (at Evening Prayer, you would do this before the last printed intention, because at Evening Prayer, the last intention is for the dead). Or you don’t need to, and you can simply offer the office as printed for the intention of this-and-that.

Set aside a fixed time, commit to that. Do not worry about extending your time. It’s probably even a bad idea. You’re a layman, with responsibilities in life. You cannot play monk, and even monks do not spend all their time in formal prayer. Instead, they continue their prayer in their work, offering up their very work as prayer. There are only 24 hours in a day, and a plethora of intentions. So offer prayers for these intentions, but also offer your work and difficulties. This way, even your work is sanctified.


You can offer up one of the LOTH for any or all intentions. So you can pray Sext with the intention of the souls of your Protestant friends. Actually every time we pray the LOTH we are also praying for the entire Church and those that for some reason say, sloth, are not praying so we are praying for them.

Also in the LOTH I usually add my own prayer intentions(Lauds and Vespers)along with the prescribed ones for families, the Pope and our nation, Jews. And Muslims.


I personally say all of my intentions at the beginning of whatever praying I am doing. Sometimes it’s 5-10 minutes of petitions/intentions for people before I start the actual prayers. Whatever way works best for you.


Oh gosh, there is SO much to pray for it can be overwhelming. I felt immediate calm in this regard once I gave all my intentions to Mary, permanently, for her use. She knows far better than us how to maximize our prayers.


Yes, you can do a rosary that way. The “Patriotic Rosary” that I posted for July 4 had each of the decades dedicated to a branch of government (the three federal branches, all the state governors, and the local and municipal governments, that makes 5).

I have occasionally done them that way, but because I generally don’t have exaclty 5 intentions, I find it easier to just state all the intentions at the beginning of the rosary and I mention them again at the end during my Memorare (adding any I forgot at the beginning).


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