New year, new you - and new prayer life?
‘Tis the season for the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Whether it’s Christmas shopping, traveling to see family and friends, or finishing work projects before some time off, we’re pretty rushed at the end of the year. Looking for a bit more peace and some Silent Night vibes? Often, the thing that gets in the way of our spiritual practices is time. We get busy and it becomes difficult to find those moments to recenter. Here’s our gift to you - a list of easy and accessible ways to pray.
It’s the perfect time to start a new prayer routine, too - because the new year in the Church is just beginning. Advent began November 28 and is the four weeks leading up to Christmas and the start of a new Church year. Pick one of these and commit to doing it for a week - then see how much more peaceful you feel.
Prayer in Your Ear Buds
If you want to find a way to insert prayer into your daily routine, but always feel like you’re on the go, there are several ways to build prayer into your routine through your phone. Whether you’re on a run, doing laundry, or driving around on errands, you can find a way to plug in, hit play, and pray.
The Hallow App is for “prayer, meditation, music and sleep” - it’s basically the Catholic version of other popular meditation apps like Calm. You can choose from different kinds of prayer, such as guided meditations or the rosary with calming rain in the background. The meditations also provide time options to help you fit prayer into the time that you have, whether it’s five minutes or half an hour. The variety provided lets you try different forms of prayer to find the one that best resonates with you.
Another great tool is Spotify. You can look up specific prayers, such as the rosary, and many recordings will pop up to choose from. You can also pray through music by finding Christian music playlists ranging from chant to pop to gospel. Grotto Network has some curated playlists we like.
Podcasts are another great way to introduce prayer-on-the-go. The most popular is Fr. Mike Schmitz’s Bible in a Year podcast, which includes his reading of the Scripture passage as well as a reflection on it. Another great option is The Examen with Fr. James Martin which guides listeners in a meditative reading of Scripture.
Dive Into Scripture with Sunday or Daily Readings
Reading Scripture can feel overwhelming. We might struggle with knowing where or how to start, or feel like we need to have prior knowledge to understand it. The Bible is the Word of God and is therefore for everyone, so the best way to start is to just jump right in.
A simple way to begin is with the daily Mass readings. You can subscribe to have them sent to your email and then spend a few minutes reading the day’s Gospel on your commute, during your lunch break, or whenever you have a few minutes to sit down. And if a daily habit sounds overwhelming, start with just the Sunday readings. If it helps, this female-founded company creates journals specifically for reflecting on the Sunday Mass readings each week.
Begin Your Day with Just One Minute
It can be hard to set aside time for prayer during our day. If that’s the case for you, try setting aside just 60 seconds at the start of your day.
Called the “Heroic Minute,” St. Josemaria Escriva gave simple instructions for this concept: Get up with your alarm and without snoozing. Then spend that first minute of your day in meditative prayer. It can be a simple prayer intention, a moment of thanks, or asking God to guide your day.
When we begin our day in God’s presence, we can move into our morning routine having given over to God what may come in that day and opening up the possibility of seeing Him at work in our life.
Whichever way you choose, we hope these will help you jumpstart your prayer life in the new year and bring you peace.