Praying is simultaneously the easiest and the hardest thing we can do. It is easy because we are communicating with our Beloved and we are letting Him love us. It is hard because it takes time, it can be boring and monotonous, and we sometimes simply don't know what to say or do.
Much like spending time with a loved one, it is not so much what we do or how we do it in prayer, rather it is most important that we pray. St. Teresa of Avila, a great mystic and a woman of great prayerfulness, wrote tirelessly about prayer. Yet, within her writings, a consistent method or prescribed method of prayer never emerges. In fact, the great saint and Doctor of the Church prescribes one element as most essential to our lives of prayer: Determination.
She notes in the Way of Perfection, “There are so many reasons why it is extremely important to begin with great determination in prayer... This little bit of time that we resolve to give Him, which we spend on ourselves and on someone who will not thank us for it, let us give to Him, since we desire to do so, with our thoughts free of other things and unoccupied by them... The other reason for beginning with determination is – and it is very much to the point – that the person who does so struggles more courageously. He knows that come what may he will not turn back."
Everyone who reads this is starting for a different place in their spiritual lives. Some of you are just starting out while others are really looking to deepen an already vibrant prayer life. It does not matter where in the spiritual life you are; God always calls you deeper into His love. In addition, we are always in need of daily committing ourselves.
There are a million excuses not to pray, but there is only one reason you need to pray.
Here are some tips to get you started and to help you take your prayer to the next level:
Fr. Patrick is a Dominican priest and the Campus Minister.