We would like introduce to you to a new way to pray. People are usually familiar with contemplative prayer: you chose a special time, a special place, and a special program of prayer. However, saint Paul exhorts us to “pray without ceasing”. This might sound “easy” for monks and nuns who can stay all day long in a chapel and practice contemplative prayer. But for us, whose daily schedules are filled with classes or work, how can we possibly literally “pray without ceasing”?
There exists a form of prayer that you can recite all day long. It consists in praying to God during each and every one of your activities: when you're walking in the street, waiting for the bus, working, or talking to someone.
Whatever activity you are doing, you do it with Him, in the way that He would do it, and you do it out for Him.
Here are two very simple ways to practice in this prayer:
- Brief intentions throughout the whole day
Thank Him when you get a good grade, when the weather is nice, etc. Share with Him and offer Him all your burdens and actions. Ask Him to enlighten us when you have to make a choice (any choice, not just difficult ones in serious situations), when you are engaging in a difficult conversation, etc. Think about God as your beloved, with Whom you want to share everything.
- The Jesus Prayer
The Jesus Prayer is a repeated form of prayer, a bit similar to praying the Rosary, but much more simple. All it takes is to repeat: “Lord Jesus, have mercy on me”. you can pray it aloud, or repeat it in your mind all throughout the day.
When recited slowly (and not mechanically), this prayer leaves a deep mark in soul, like a steady and peaceful river progressively shaping the landscape. Just focus on what you're saying, and let the words flow smoothly in your spirit.
This prayer puts you at peace and ends up influencing your actions and your behavior. It allows you to truly experience a constant communion with God.
Someone who prays without ceasing is always praising God in a part of themselves, like the incense that burned constantly in the censers by the tabernacle of Old Testament Temples, or the eternal flame of the Sanctuary Lamps guarding the Blessed Sacraments.
This verse hits the nail on the head: ‘
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have received from God?'' - 1 Corinthians 6:19.
If you want to learn more about the ancient practice of the Jesus Prayer, check out The Way of the Pilgrim, an Eastern-Christian best-seller written by an unknown Russian author. The book recounts the spiritual journey of a wandering pilgrim. It is really easy to read, and very deep, with no unnecessary embellishments. Strongly recommended!
Another simple, powerful, profound invocation you can recite is ‘‘Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful'' and its variations. This prayer was recommended by the Apostle of the Holy Spirit, Blessed Elena Guerra, and strongly encouraged by pope Leo XIII.
Maylis, 23, shares her experience on perpetual prayer at work:
I was on an internship in a bridal dresses shop. I didn't succeed in keeping up with prayer all the time, but I would make my best to recite a “Hail Mary” in my heart for every customer; I would pray for the dignity of each woman and to protect the commitment each one of those future spouses was making. I would also pray that the Holy Spirit would guide all my words and work on my gaze towards the bodies and the intimacy those women would unveil to me”.
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Take a moment to treasure up all these things and ponder them in your heart (cf Luke 2,19)
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone. Col 4:6