How do we prepare ourselves for prayer?

Most of us are busy with families, jobs, and other temporal concerns that occupy our attention for the better part of the day. Even if we start our day with prayer, it can be difficult to concentrate on spiritual matters without the mind wandering to worldly concerns.

One way of addressing this is what the spiritual masters call “remote preparation,” which can take different forms, such as calling the Lord to mind at different points in the day, or performing mortifications such as fasting, or doing works of charity. But this, too, can be difficult when we are (rightly, to some extent) occupied with the things of the world.

How do you prepare yourself for your prayer time? This is not an exhortation, I am really asking for input and ideas for my own benefit.

Even though retired, I force myself to stop and find some peace and quiet. I have to find a point at which I disconnect from the world and invite (or recognize) the presence of God. Rosaries done by contemplatives (i.e. Fr. Groeschel†), and with scripture verses to assist in contemplation, help me. Some cannot drive and pray, but my career forced me to both drive and listen to a 2-way radio. So trained in divided attention, I offer Rosaries and Chaplets of Divine Mercy while I drive.

Although medical issues have not helped lately, silence in the presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament has had amazing benefits. Small miracles, actually. Our former parish Priest mentioned that we pass by Catholic parishes almost daily. Nothing better than to stop in, even for 5 minutes of prayer. He continued, saying that even if the building is locked, you now that our Lord is just on the other side of that wall, in the Tabernacle.

Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you and ask for the graces to be called to prayer. Pray for me these days is a conversation with God. “Ok God, I need you to guide me.”, “What should I do about …?” “Why did you put us here with no answers?” “Why do you not reveal yourself to me and the whole world so I can believe more?” “Lord, increase my faith please.”

But of course a good preparation for prayer or guide is the Rosary. Always gets me going, even if it is just a decade. I try to pray as best as I can that one Our Father and ten Hail Marys.

When I allow myself a formal prayer or meditation time I try to do some physical exercise first. If going to the church during adoration hours I walk there. That is about an 8 minute walk. I’ve gone swimming before going to another church that offers adoration on a different day. Raking the lawn or mowing if I’m doing a meditation or prayer practice at home. I also have a daily hatha yoga and qigong practice that helps as well to help let go of the monkey or puppy mind. For me any form of exercise seems to help at least a little. Blessings to all.

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