How much time daily do you devote to meditative and or contemplative prayer? Is this prayer form something that should be done daily and if so how many times a day? I’m a married man with 6 children (11 and under).
I’m also a married man with a family, but the rule-of-thumb is the same for all: starting with 15min of daily meditation, working towards 30min daily. Lectio Divina is an excellent form of meditation for both beginners and proficients.
No one can commit any time to contemplative prayer though, as it’s a gift from God that He gives when and to whom He pleases. But, the hope is that as one turns to Him and away from sin, He blesses them with contemplative prayer perhaps during one’s meditation, if this is for the benefit of one’s soul.
Dave - Augustine’s answers are good - in particular his distinction between meditation and contemplation (for more on this check out rcspiritualdirection.blogspot.com/2008/12/contemplation-and-meditation.html)). I am in a similar position with a demanding job. My goal is a minimum of 15 minutes a day using the method that Father Bartuek (same site as above) outlines.
I pray 30 minutes daily, but I also don’t have children (yet).
I have a friend with 4 boys about the same age as yours, and the only prayer time he has for himself is one Rosary per day. (By the way, one can be brought to contemplative prayer through the Rosary.)
Remember the duties of our state of life are important; we can’t try to live like monks in the married vocation. St. Francis de Sales has advice in this area:
“Francis advises not to pray longer than an hour a day (in addition to Mass) without the advice of a spiritual director, as a safeguard against the possible neglect of the responsibilities of our state in life and the possible danger of spiritual deception, pride, or imbalance in our life. There are perhaps many people who at some point in their spiritual journey will be called to longer or more frequent times of prayer. At these points seeking wise spiritual counsel would be a very good idea.”
Source: The Fulfillment of All Desire, p. 132
Contemplative prayer is done all day long, for life itself becomes prayer for the contemplative.
Scheduled prayer, I pray the Liturgy of the Hours, morning and evening prayer. I do mental prayer, 10-20 minutes every evening, after the evening prayer.