I read David Torkington’s “The Resolution to end all Resolutions” and started a new prayer routine three years ago.
My starting point was Lauds and Vespers from Liturgy of the hours. Don’t be too impressed. Lauds was recognizable after my adaptation. But I reduce Vespers to something I could reliably remember, late in the day.
I made a printed copy of both sets, and still use the ‘morning’ copy. The ‘evening’ copy, not so much.
Like I said, I reduced that set to something I could reliably remember. Which isn’t much, late in the day, when I’m well past peak mental performance.
I’ve idly speculated that there may be blooper tape analogs in the heavenly realms, recording my prayerful efforts on the borderlands of sleep. And that’s another topic.
Ideally, maybe, I’d have had morning and evening prayers memorized before I began. And recited all 520 words flawlessly each and every day for the last three years.
That didn’t happen.
Bitterly berating myself for memorizing what I can and reading the rest is an option. But not, I think, a reasonable one. I might as well wail and gnash my teeth because I haven’t memorized Sacred Scripture. All 73 books.1 And that’s yet another topic. Topics.
And what is prayer, for that matter?
Prayer is — should be — “a vital and personal relationship with the living and true God.” (Catechism, 2258)
Speaking of which, I’ve heard and read that each of us should have a “personal” relationship with God.
I think I know what folks who say and write that mean. But the exhortation makes little sense to me, until I remember what’s meant.
The way I see it, I’m a person. God is three persons. A “personal” relationship strikes me as the only sort we could have. Getting back to prayer —
I’ve felt, and feel, a bit awkward “blessing” God. Remembering that I’m reflecting blessings that come from the Almighty helps. (Catechism, 2626)
Should prayers be spontaneous or routine?
Prayers aren’t just reciting phrases and performing predetermined gestures. Believing that prayer works if I go through the motions, doing a strictly external performance, would be dropping into superstition. And a bad idea. (Catechism, 2111)
Thinking about what a prayer’s words mean is important. (Catechism, 2688)
Prayer is a gift of grace. It’s something I can’t do unless I decide it’s worth the effort. (Catechism, 2725)
That sounds, and is, very far from easy.
Prayer is always possible. Even when it’s not easy. That’s a good thing, since trying to be a Christian without prayer won’t work. Prayer makes sharing the love Jesus has for each of us — all of us, everyone — possible. (Catechism, 2742–2745)
I thought I was already doing that. My morning prayers, plus a varying set of intentions, felt like at least fifteen minutes.
I was wrong.
Checking the clock before and after told me that I was putting in five minutes. If that.
My short-term solution was to add a Divine Mercy Chaplet to my evening prayers.
That was an interesting experience. And, if my ‘blooper tape’ speculation reflects reality, added a reel or two to the collection.
When Lent started, I started my usual Lenten Chaplet and moved the Divine Mercy Chaplet to morning prayers.
My morning prayers now take nearly 20 minutes. Not that protracted prayer is better than momentary meditation or concise contemplation.
But I figure that spending time praying, focusing on God, is a good idea. And that it can’t hurt to take maybe 20 minutes each day doing so.
The Lenten Chaplet will be over when Lent is. That will leave me a few minutes shy of my target again. My plan is replacing it with the Rosary.
- “Don’t panic, be prudent and pray”
Scott Dodge, Καθολικός διάκονος (March 13, 2020)
I thought he made sense.
I thought I made sense in these posts, too. Your experience may vary:
- “Polka Mass and Adoration”
(December 13, 2019)
- “A Goal for Lent”
(March 2, 2019)
- “Rejoicing Anyway”
(December 17, 2017)
- “Divine Mercy”
(April 23, 2017)
- “New Daily Prayer Routine”
(February 19, 2017)
- Books of the Bible
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops