Summer has finally come (for most of us) and for some the sweet relief of no more classes is just around the corner. With summer comes so much more free time, family time, and for a lot of us – a real job. I’ve always found it funny how every summer I make this intense self-improvement plan. It usually includes three days of working out, 20 books that I plan to read, a very devout prayer schedule, and learning like two languages. I mean technically, I probably have the time to do a lot of this, and yet for some reason I am two weeks into summer and I haven’t worked out once, I’ve read once, and my prayer is very lacking.
Summer messes up our schedule. When we are at college, or even high school, we have such a set daily routine that we get into that is based solely on our plans. Coming home that gets flipped on its head as all the sudden you have all the time in the world and yet for some reason it feels like every time you decide to pray your parents ask you to do something or another plan gets in the way.With all this time on our hands, and an intense desire to relax after a very draining semester, it is so easy to say, “I’ve got all the time in the world, I’ll pray later,” but as many of us know, this just doesn’t work. We have to create a new routine at home, and we have to do it right away. If I get in the habit of watching TV all day and sleeping in until noon, going to work and coming home and sitting on Instagram for an hour and then it becomes so much harder to break this habit as the summer goes on. I know it sounds lame, or restricting, but we need structure in our lives and God is asking us to develop that to grow closer with Him
It is so important to develop a healthy routine, especially when it comes to prayer, right away but how do we do this? Here are some tips to developing a healthy (and practical) prayer routine to start adding a little bit of structure into your day.
- At the beginning of each week sit down with your parents (if you are living with them) and ask them what their schedule is for the upcoming week. Ask them where they want you to be, what they want you to do, and the expectations they have of you. Not only will this dramatically improve your relationship, but then, you can start working your schedule around your families instead of finding out about something the day of and being annoyed that it messes up your plans.
- Ask yourself when you are going to pray every single day, even if it is just 15 minutes. Whenever you decide (morning is the best, even if you aren’t a morning person) stick to that. The most important thing to remember with this is – you do not fit prayer in your schedule… you have to schedule your life around your prayer. Your prayer has to be the center. Plan your weekly prayer schedule after speaking to you parents so you know going into the week exactly when you are going to pray and do not let anything – even a date with the boy you’ve liked your whole life – come between you and those 15-30 minutes.
- Choose one thing to focus on. Don’t enter 30 minutes of prayer time thinking you are going to pray the rosary, do lectio devina, and also somehow spend a good amount of time in silence. Choose one thing. Maybe say, for the next 3-4 weeks I’m going to do 20 minutes of lectio devina every day and then after those 3-4 weeks are up you can look back, see if that was a good thing for you, and decide if you want to keep doing it or change it up. Stick to one thing. For me, I start by reading Jesus is Calling and then I read one of the inspired passages in the bible and reflect on it for about 30 minutes and it has been so so fruitful. Find what is most fruitful to you and stick with it for a specific period of time so you don’t give up after two days if you don’t “feel” anything.
- Finally, and this one is completely voluntary, but I’m inviting all of you to join me in doing no social media (Instagram, twitter, facebook, youtube, snapchat) from this Friday to next Friday. I’ve already caught myself developing bad habits while being home, spending way too much time on Instagram instead of being present with my family and actually spending time to better myself. I’ve wasted hours on Youtube and Instagram and Hulu and I need a complete system reset. So, I’m deleting all of the apps and only allowing myself 3 hours of TV next week in the hopes of silencing all the noise in my head and being more present in every moment of every day.
- Find an accountability partner – someone you know also is dedicated to growing in her relationship with God and is willing to call you out if you start slacking in your prayer.
Trust me, this is a lot easier said than done, and heck, I’m writing this to keep myself accountable, but developing a very strict prayer schedule is so important to help us keep the faith alive this summer. I promise to practice what I preach if you guys promise to give this a try with me. As stated in number 4 I won’t be on Instagram this week and that means I probably won’t post on Monday. We can do this!
See you guys next Friday!