Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Pray without Ceasing

So, it is that time of the semester when teachers start piling on all the assignments, all the papers, and all the tests, and everyone is starting to get a little overwhelmed. In order to keep up with the extra homework, sometimes the first thing to go is our relationship with God. Now, I am not saying that instead of spending an hour studying for an A we should all go to the chapel to pray for an A, but just because our life is starting to get overwhelming does not mean God should go to the backburner of our lives. This leads to a dilemma; if we do not have enough minutes in the day just to study for all our finals coming up, then how can we have enough time to also spend with God on top of everything else in our hectic schedules?
One time, when I was actually paying attention in Mass, I heard the bible verse from 1 Thessalonians 5:17. It is only three words out of the whole bible passage that was read that Sunday, but they stood out to me an excruciating amount. Those three words were “Pray without ceasing.” When I heard that line I thought to myself, how is that even possible? At that time in my life, I was on the path of starting to pray more, but now God wanted me to pray without ever stopping? I had other things in my life to do other than just sit around and pray all day long. What about all those people who need jobs to provide for their families? God cannot possibly expect all of them to quit their jobs to go pray in the chapel all day, can He? Even priests and nuns cannot possible spend every waking second praying. They must take a break at some point. Don’t they? These thoughts all ran through my head when I first heard those three little words because it did not seem feasible. After contemplating how God could expect everyone to devout every second of their day to prayer, it hit me. God does not expect us to spend our lives sitting in a chapel praying all day long, instead He expects us to bring prayer to our everyday lives. Prayer is not about saying fifty Hail Mary’s and ten Our Fathers every day, it is about taking time out of your day to talk to God. It does not matter how you pray as long as you continue to pray though out the day; or, in other words, pray without ceasing.
So when life seems overwhelming and there is no way to fit a second of prayer into your busy schedule, approach prayer in a new way. On the way walking to class is the perfect time to talk to God and thank Him for the many blessings in your life. Sitting in the classroom waiting for the teacher to start class, you can say a quick Our Father. During the drive to work, turn off the radio and spend time in silence listening to the words God wants you to hear. No matter what is included in your busy schedule, even just taking five seconds to tell God thank you for this day is a way to begin focusing your life on praying without ceasing.
The best part about beginning to put prayer into your everyday life is that the more you start to incorporate prayer into your life in the little ways, the more naturally it comes to spend time with God in prayer every day. You start to form habits such as your walk to class every day; it becomes your “God Time.” You begin to find even more little and big ways to add even more prayer into your schedule. You start to really value your “God Time” as it is the little moments throughout the day that you get to be with your best friend, God.
The awesome thing about God is that He is there ready to listen to your prayer any second of the day. You do not need to wait until Mass at 5:05 in order to talk to Him. At three in the morning after your test cramming melt down, He’s there with arms open wide, ready to hear your prayer and comfort you. All you need to do is make the effort to start the conversation. A prayer that I love, called I Thirst for You, has the line said by Jesus, “You forget Me, and yet I am seeking you every moment of the day-standing at the door of you heart and knocking.” This line shows the importance of us praying without ceasing. Jesus is there with us through it all. Through all the study sessions, through all the heartaches, through everything we experience. So even though we have a million and one things to do, let us not forget to take moments out of our day to open the door to our heart and let Jesus in. 

Katherine Theresa Elizabeth Janusa studies elementary education at Stephen F. Austin University and has enjoyed being able to complete Practicum I with the first graders at Raguet Elementary this semester. She is looking forward to her internship next semester at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida. She loves being a member of Dancers of the Son and Dancers Against Cancer where she can use her passion of dance to help others both physically and spiritually! Her goals in life are to be a teacher as inspiring as her favorite television teacher Mr. Feeney and a Catholic writer as influential as her favorite authors Jason and Crystalina Evert. 

1 comment:

  1. Well done Katherine! I am looking forward to your next exert.