Over the past couple of months I have been journeying back to my Catholic faith and while the experience has been awesome in every sense, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed in the prayer department. My main focus right now is to incorporate prayer into my every day life. I feel that everything else will fall into place as long as I pray sincerely and regularly. This has been going well except that I have developed quite the laundry list of things to pray for, and everything on the list is near and dear to my heart! I pray for God’s grace. I pray for my new marriage and my new husband. I pray for the holy souls of Purgatory and those without anyone to pray for them. I pray for the helpless unborn. I pray for the priesthood and the Pope. I pray for God’s grace in my spiritual growth, patience, and humility. Every time I read or hear about someone’s passing I say a quick prayer for them. I pray for my widowed mother and the soul of my departed father. I pray for my country. I pray for God’s will in my life. I pray and I pray and I pray and these are all very important things I feel I need to pray for, along with the other items that just come up as days go along! I just wonder if prayer is supposed to be like this? I’m trying to pray the rosary daily and I can’t get through it without a pause and “oh yeah, and for so and so and this other intention.” Then I ask for the intercession of a list of my favorite saints. I love prayer and want it to be a bigger part of my life, but I just feel so scatterbrained with all these intentions. Is it alright that I’m unable to focus on just 2-3 intentions per prayer? Should I make it a point to focus on a few? Do I schedule my intentions to keep them straight? Does anyone have any suggestions or experience to share? Thank you and God bless!
Like you I believe that regular, daily prayer is necessary. Besides the Rosary (which I myself am not particularly fond of and only rarely pray), I suggest the Liturgy of the Hours. It is the prayer of the Church, by the Church and as such covers all the intentions of the Church and her faithful. It has the beauty of also putting boundaries on our day, and marking the boundaries between rest, work, family life, etc. If you’re not familiar, the hours are:
*]Office of Readings (prayed at any time)
*]Morning prayer (Lauds) and thus a great boundary between home and work life;
*]Mid-day prayer (Terce, Sext or none), a great time to pause and realize for whom we are working
*]Evening Prayer (Vespers), a great time to mark the boundary between ending work and returning to family life
*]Night Prayer (Compline), a great time to review one’s conscience before bed.
The prayers themselves are based on the psalms and Bible canticles, plus non-biblical hymns and general intercessions, and are found in a series of books called “Liturgy of the Hours”, or abridge versions called “Christian Prayer” or “Shorter Christian Prayer”. Each hour takes approximately 10-15 minutes to pray (in private recitation or reading).
My suggestion would be to start slowly with perhaps one or two of the hours, to get used to the idea and develop a habit of it, then work your way up to what your situation in life allows you to handle. Often laymen and women start with Morning and Evening Prayer, and perhaps Night Prayer.
Do a search here on “Liturgy of the Hours”, and plenty of discussions will pop up that will provide more information.
Prayer isn’t meant to be so stressful! Could you just relax a bit, offer your intentions for all the concerns on your heart and know that God knows and understands them all, then simply rest in God’s presence.
If you want something more concrete, perhaps you could keep a journal with your prayer intentions then start by offering your prayer for all the intentions in your journal. Then you could pray the rosary or whatever other type of prayer you like while focusing on the mysteries.
It might be helpful if you write down your intentions and pray for some each day, instead of overwhelming yourself. God already knows what you want to pray for, and he did hear your prayers that you prayed yesterday, so break down your intentions into daily segments.
For instance: one day pray for the souls in purgatory and family members, the next for the Church and it’s needs, etc. By the end of the week you will have covered all the bases, and it won’t be so overwhelming. God bless you.
Been there and done that. About 5 years ago I really got bitten by the prayer bug. I had at least 10 Novenas going at the same time, Little Office of the BVM, 1904 version, and anywhere from 5 to 10 Rosaries daily. Each season that the church entered presented another set of prayers/novenas. I just kept adding them on top of all the other prayer. My wife finally asked me to talk to our priest about my “addiction”. So I did. He advised me to relax and try just saying one complete rosary a day plus the Little Office. I have been doing this for nearly 3 years now and find I have more time with my family and I can now relax and have time to volunteer at my parish. (I lead the Rosary every other week).
I no longer try to hurry home to get at my prayers or rush through the Rosary so that I can say another one.
Balance in all things is the best method.
I too have come back to the faith recently.
I’ve started praying the Chaplet of Divine Mercy each day. It’s on EWTN at 3pm.
It is the most beautiful prayer.
Hope this helps
Thanks for all of the helpful suggestions! I knew I could count on some great advice on this forum
Haha! I think an addiction to prayer is probably one of the better addictions to have! I’m glad to know I’m not the only one with such an issue. I’ll look into the Little Office. Thank you so much for sharing!
I’ve never prayed the Chaplet of Divine Mercy but have heard wonderful things. Thank you for the suggestion!
The bolded part is something I really need to keep in mind. This will definitely help me manage!
Thank you for this! You and CB are right; I need to remember that of course God already knows what I need (even more so than I do!)
This is another prayer I have to look into. Thank you for the recommendation!
You beat me to it.
God knows our heart better than we do ourselves. Relax, focus on a few, and pray well.
Since the Liturgy of the Hours has come up, there are two relatively easy ways to break into it.
One is the publication The Magnificat. It is a monthly (or monthly plus) publiction, and has a very simple, reduced part of the Liturgy of the Hours.
If you wish to move beyond that, or want strictly the LOTH, then I would suggest Shorter Christian Prayer, as it is less complex than the one volume LOTH or the 4 volume set.
I believe there may be a guide to it; if not, send me a note if you go this direction.
I am all for LOTH, but it does not fit everyone.