Pray All Day: 13 Simple Ways to Increase Your Spiritual LifeMay 08, 2020
Want to pray more, but feeling overwhelmed? Prayer does not need to be tedious or difficult. Here are 13 simple ways to pray more and increase your spiritual life.
You want to know my greatest regret?
My greatest regret in life is not having prayed more.
Of course, I regret all the sins I've ever committed. However, the sin of not rendering justice to God through prayer (a sin against the 1st Commandment) was probably the indirect cause of all my worst sins... surely it would have been impossible to stray so far from the straight and narrow if I had made God a real priority in my life, rather than simply a theology that I ascribed to but never put into practice through prayer.
In the words of St. John Chrysostom, "It is simply impossible to lead, without the aid of prayer, a virtuous life."
Prayer Makes All Burdens Easy and Light
As a mom of 4 kids, I used to feel tired and overwhelmed by the thought of praying more. For a long while, the most I was accustomed to saying was one Our Father before bed (that is, if I didn't fall asleep first). And every time I tried to pray the rosary, I fell asleep!
But a funny thing happened... the more time I spent in prayer, the more time I seemed to get back.
Praying became easy. Addictive even. So long as I was in God's grace, and my requests were good for the soul, my prayers were being answered. I wanted to pray more and more!
"He who prays most receives most." –St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori
With the increase in my prayer life also came big changes in my life. Not drastic changes on the outside that other people could see, but changes were happening on the inside. God was showing me where my vices were and helping me to correct them.
"Virtues are formed by prayer. Prayer preserves temperance. Prayer suppresses anger. Prayer prevents emotions of pride and envy. Prayer draws into the soul the Holy Spirit, and raises man to Heaven." –St. Ephraem of Syria
The following tips are some of the things that have helped me to go from "spiritual couch potato" to praying all day. Of course, this is not a substitute for advice from your spiritual director. Hopefully, though, you will find one or two ideas that help you!
Note: Don't feel like you need to implement each of these tips all at once. I suggest starting with one thing at a time, and gradually working your way through the list, because otherwise you might burn yourself out.
Are you ready to pray more?
Great! Here are 13 ways to pray all day...
1. Make the Sign of the Cross Upon Waking
It is very important to pray first thing in the morning, before doing anything else. St. John Vianney gives us the reason why:
"Take great care never to do anything before having said Morning Prayers. The devil once declared that if he could have the first moment of the day, he was sure of all the rest."
I've included a list of traditional Catholic morning prayers that I like to use in my Daily Prayers for Catholic Mothers here. Take some of these that you like, write them down, and keep them next to your bed.
But what if you accidentally slept in and you don't have time to get through your morning prayers? Simply make the sign of the cross!
In fact, there is a partial indulgence just for saying and making the sign of the cross devoutly, with an even greater indulgence when you do it with holy water. (By the way, St. Teresa of Avila says that holy water is very powerful against demons... so if you want to make sure they don't mess up your day, start your day with holy water!)
Another tip: ask Jesus to seal you in His Precious Blood so that you are protected throughout the day. Here's a prayer you can use:
Sealing Prayer of Protection
I ask Jesus to seal me in His most Precious Blood against any and all incursions of the evil one, in particular against any clinging, familial, familiar or retaliating spirits, in the Name of the Father and of the Son ✠ and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2. Recite the Rosary with Your Family
Over and over again, Our Lady has appeared and exhorted us to pray the rosary. The rosary is our most powerful weapon against the devil.
Don't just say the rosary by yourself. Make sure to include your family too! Setting a time for saying the rosary every day with your family (such as after dinner or right before bed) will help you to be consistent.
3. Write Down Your Daily Prayers
Don't leave saying your prayers to chance. If you come across a certain prayer you like and you want to say it every day, right it down!
After a while, you'll probably find another prayer that you want to say also. Right that down too.
Pretty soon, you'll have a beautiful collection of prayers that are personal to you! This is how I gradually collected all of my daily prayers.
If you find that your list is growing too long for you to handle each day, organize your prayers into two categories: 1) prayers you absolutely must say every day, and 2) prayers that you can say only once or twice per week.
For prayers in the latter category, assign specific days of the week to them so that you aren't saying every prayer every single day.
4. Start a Prayer Intention Book
When you start growing in the spiritual life, you may find that you start receiving more prayer requests. This is God giving you greater responsibility!
It's easy to feel overwhelmed or to simply fail at following through unless you actually write down requests as you receive them. The solution I've found is to keep a notebook specifically for this purpose.
The added benefit to keeping a prayer intention book is that if you're short on time, you can always say a general prayer for all those listed in your book of intentions.
5. Do 15 Minutes of Meditation
Did you know that there are 9 levels of prayer? The first level of prayer is vocal prayer– this is the type of prayer where you are saying (either out loud or in your head) specific, pre-prescribed words. The second level of prayer is meditation.
Meditation is a form of mental prayer– that is, prayer that does NOT include pre-prescribed words. In meditation, you are reflecting on a certain mystery or perfection of God, speaking to God from the heart in your own words, thanking Him, telling Him you love Him, telling Him you are sorry, and making resolutions to amend your life. This form of prayer is essential for growing in virtue.
Fortunately, the rosary is a form of meditation! So if you are already saying the rosary daily, you are doing about 15 minutes of meditation per day.
Once you get the hang of this, you can start devoting another 15 minutes or so to meditation per day, using spiritual reading (the bible, lives of the saints, writings of the saints) to give you the material for meditation.
One of my absolute favorite books for this purpose is The Mystical City of God by Mary of Agreda. This book was dictated by the Blessed Virgin Mary herself! In it, she lifts the veil from her life so that we can see how she lived and thereby imitate her virtues and works. Many people have committed to reading a chapter from this book each day for the rest of their lives!
6. Install Holy Images in Your Home
Having images of the Holy Family and the saints in your home will be a constant reminder to pray. Every time you pass by the image, you may be inspired to pray a few words from the heart, or to simply smile!
Particular holy images come with special promises to those who install them in a place of importance in their homes. These images include:
- Sacred Heart of Jesus
- Immaculate Heart of Mary
- Holy Face of Jesus
- Divine Mercy
More recommended images to place in your home:
- St. Michael the Archangel
- Holy Family (or Nativity)
- and of course, the crucifix!
Remember to have your images blessed. Not only will blessing your images make them more efficacious for giving graces, but sadly sometimes someone has placed a curse on an image before selling it. Blessing the image will break any curses.
7. Use Ejaculations Throughout the Day
Ejaculations are short prayers, or "outpourings of the heart" proceeding from the Holy Spirit.
When you really love something or someone, you naturally think about it, him, or her often. So when we really love God, we also tend to think of Him often, and the brief words of love that pour out of our hearts are called "ejaculations."
Many indulgenced ejaculations can be found in the Raccolta. Here are a few that have partial indulgences attached (it is recommended to offer the indulgences gained to the souls in Purgatory):
- My Jesus, mercy!
- O God be merciful to me, the sinner.
- Jesus, my God, I love Thee above all things!
- Sweet heart of Mary, be my salvation.
- O God, thou art all-powerful, make me a saint.
- O God, come unto my assistance: O Lord, make haste to help me (Psalm 69, 2).
- My God, I give Thee thanks for what thou givest, and for what Thou takest away: Thy will be done.
- Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.
- Sweet Heart of my Jesus, grant that I may ever love Thee more.
- My God I Love Thee.
- Blessed be the Name of the Lord! – An indulgence of 500 days, as often as this ejaculation is devoutly recited upon hearing blasphemies against God (S. C. Ind., Nov. 28, 1903; S. P. Ap., Dec. 9, 1932)
8. Don't Forget to Say Grace Before Meals!
If sometimes you forget to say grace before meals, commit to saying it every time... even if you are in a restaurant!
In fact, it's even more important to say grace when eating out, since exorcists tell us that they've had cases of possessions where the person had consumed cursed food or drink. When you bless your food, any curses are broken.
By the way, many Catholic families have "add-ons" that they like to include with their grace. For our family, we like to invoke the saint who's feast it is that day, or a special saint who we've adopted as our patron for a particular time.
9. Pray the Angelus
The Angelus is a traditional prayer that dates back to the 11th century (or perhaps even further than that). It's essentially three Hail Mary's in remembrance of the Incarnation, and is said at three times throughout the day: at 6AM, at Noon, and at 6PM.
The Angelus prayer is as follows:
V. The Angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Spirit.
V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
R. Be it done unto me according to thy word.
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us.
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray.
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of His Resurrection. Through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.
10. Join the Archconfraternity of the Holy Face
A devotion that was particularly dear to St. Therese of Liseiux is the devotion to the Holy Face of Jesus. Sadly, this devotion has fallen out of common knowledge... but its practice could not be more relevant today!
The Holy Face devotion was given by Christ to Sister Mary of St. Peter, a Carmelite nun, in 1844. Subsequently, Pope Leo XIII established this special devotion as an Archconfraternity, and contrary to custom, he immediately established it for the entire world.
The purpose of the devotion is to make reparation to the Holy Face of Jesus (the face of Jesus suffering His Passion, as imprinted on the Veil of Veronica) for the two sins which offend God the most in modern times: the sins of blasphemy, and the profanation of Sunday and Holy Days of obligation.
Sr. Mary said:
"He then made me see that this frightful sin wounds His Divine Heart more grievously than all other sins, showing me how by blasphemy the sinner curses Him to His Face, attacks Him publicly, nullifies HIs Redemption, and pronounces his own judgment and condemnation...
"The Savior made me understand that His justice was greatly irritated against mankind for its sins but particularly for those that directly outrage the Majesty of God–that is, Communism, Atheism, cursing, and the desecration of Sundays and the Holy Days.
"He said, The executioners crucified Me On Friday, Christians crucify Me on Sunday."
Saying the Holy Face Devotion prayers is simple and easy, but the promises are numerous and great! Every day, recite one Our Father, one Hail Mary, and one Glory Be in reparation for the sins of blasphemy and the profanation of Sunday and Holy Days of obligation, plus the "Golden Arrow" prayer. On Sundays, pray the Litany of the Holy Face. These prayers (and some optional ones) are included here.
11. Join the Auxilium Christianorum
If you really want to kick your spiritual life into high gear, I highly recommend saying the Auxilium Christianorum prayers.
When you say these prayers, you are helping the priests associated with the Auxilium Christianorum, and you receive the benefit of the prayers of ALL the members so that you are not adversely affected by the demonic.
These prayers have been known to change lives, sometimes within one week! This has been my experience also.
Remember how I told you that I used to fall asleep every time I prayed the rosary? Now I wonder if that might have been demonic... since joining the Auxilium Christianorum, I stopped having this problem. I also became generally healthier, more energetic, and better able to fulfill my duties.
The daily prayers do not take long to say. You do need to be praying the rosary every day, and there are a few other simple requirements. Learn how to join and download the prayers here.
12. Ask Your Guardian Angel to Pray in Your Stead
You know, sometimes you do your absolute best, but you just can't get to all the prayers you intended to say that day. The good news is, someone is there to help you!
Your guardian angel.
Why not ask Him to pray for you?
St. John Vianney says, "If you find it impossible to pray, hide behind your good angel and charge him to pray in your stead."
Don't forget to also pray to your guardian angel every day:
Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom God's love commits me here. Ever this day [or night] be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
13. Spiritually Transport Yourself to the Tabernacle
It can be tough to make it to adoration, even if it's available in your area, especially as a mother with little children to take care of. But don't let that stop you from adoring Christ in the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist!
In the book In Sinu Jesu, Christ instructs a Benedictine monk to spiritually transport himself to the most neglected tabernacle. He also gives a prayer for this purpose. Here is that prayer (with a very slight modification for use by lay persons):
Prayer Given by Jesus to a Benedictine Monk (October 10, 2007)
O Jesus, I want to go in spirit to the tabernacle where Thou art most forsaken and most forgotten in the world. I want to go where no one adores Thee, where no one bows before Thee, where Thou hast only Thy Angels to adore Thee and to keep Thee company. And still, it is a human heart that Thou desirest. I give Thee mine in an offering of adoration and reparation.
"Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you." –Matthew 7:7
God has commanded us to pray. If we don't pray, He respects our free will by not giving us that which we don't ask for.
If prayer seems really tedious to you, that's a sign that you really need to be praying more.
Don't leave anything up to chance: commit to one of the suggestions above and follow through. I guarantee you won't regret it!
What strategies do you use to pray throughout the day? Let me know in the comments!
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