The next few posts are the text from a talk given at the conference on prayer life…thanks, Ulrika, so uplifting and challenging…
Perhaps an alternative title for the talk today could be Holy Ambition for your prayer life. Another could be: Prayer is Not A Zero-Sum Game. I must say that I am sorry if you were hoping to hear that you’re off the hook: having kids makes you too busy to pray; you can pray again “properly” when they’ve all grown up. I’m here to challenge you today to expect more from yourself in your prayer life. My main focus will be on how we can solidify our interior lives, through prayer, while we live our current vocations as spouses and parents. It is my hope that you can leave here today with a few more spiritual tools for your toolbox.
Making Time for Prayer
We want to be saints. We must remember that.
The highest aspiration of man is to pray: to converse with our God. To know that He is listening always and that He also responds in this life prepares us for the eternal life of prayer that is the possession of God in heaven.
Learning to pray, to grow in the interior life (the spiritual life within our soul), is more important than worldly pleasures and ambitions. This is not a question of “either/or.” Prayer is how we store up enough spiritual energy to be present for our children and spouses during the day, along with all our other duties.Having a solid prayer regime is infinitely more important than any other sort of health and wellness idea we might want to incorporate into our life. Without having a solid interior life, all of the apostolic things that we do, including trying to form our children, will be less effective than they could have been. We can be sure that all the saints incorporated all of the following things into their own daily lives. We want to be saints. We want our children and spouses to be saints, too. So we need to start acting like it.
It’s fully possible for the ordinary layperson to have an intense life of prayer, indeed even being a mystic, while at the same faithfully fulfilling their obligations in the world. This life of prayer is essential so we can make our everyday obligations holy, giving glory to God and spreading the Gospel to our neighbors. The active apostle needs the interior life if we are to be effective in spreading the Gospel.